Lawsuit challenges West Point’s use of race in admissions


SFFA is the same group that sued Harvard University and the University of North Carolina (UNC), which led to US Supreme Court effectively ending affirmative action. SFFA is the same group that sued Harvard University and the University of North Carolina (UNC), which led to the US Supreme Court effectively ending affirmative action.

The complaint alleges that West Point violated the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution by setting “benchmarks” for the percentage of each class that should be filled by “African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians.” The complaint cites West Point documents that track the “racial balancing efforts.” Additionally, the lawsuit asserts that West Point’s justifications for its balancing efforts do not pass strict scrutiny.

Strict scrutiny is the standard of review of cases of affirmative action in college admissions. For discrimination to pass strict scrutiny it must be narrowly tailored in order to advance a compelling governmental interests. The Fifth Amendment includes an equal protection clause. According to the complaint, West Point’s justifications are that racial preference is critical for having a well-functioning army in a pluralistic society and an officer corps that does not reflect the general population would undermine its legitimacy by “fueling popular perceptions of racial/ethnic minorities serving as ‘canon fodder’ for white military leaders.” According to the complaint West Point’s justifications were that racial preference is critical to having a functioning army in a multi-cultural society, and that an officer corps which does not represent the general population will undermine its legitimacy because it “fuels popular perceptions about racial/ethnic minority leaders serving as ‘canon feed’ for white military leadership.”

In reply to the complaint SFFA president Edward Blum stated that:

Over time, courts have taken into consideration No level of deference can justify these polarizing and hated racial preferences and classifications in admissions at West Point or our service academies. The U.S. Supreme Court has stated in its recent opinion on the SFFA cases that all higher education institutions are prohibited from using race to make admissions decisions. Therefore, U.S. military institutions must also end their race-based policy. The court found that Harvard’s and UNC’s admissions procedures did not meet strict scrutiny. These schools claimed that

allows colleges to create more diversity in their educational environment which results in various positive outcomes for students. This is a compelling interests. The court disagreed, and ruled this was not an compelling interest. The court ruled that these processes violated Equal Protection Clause 14th Amendment.

In the month of July, SFFA again sued Harvard, claiming that its legacy admissions policies violate Title VI of Civil Rights Act of 1964.