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Supreme Court won’t block the use of race in West Point admissions for now

Supreme Court Rejection of temporary lockdown on Friday Race-conscious admissions at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point clears the way for the school to continue using race as a factor in selecting its fall incoming class.

Court order dismissed emergency relief request Students for Fair Admissions is a conservative group that has repeatedly questioned the consideration of race in higher education as the lawsuit progressed. It asked the judge to act quickly as West Point prepares to stop accepting applications on Wednesday.

The record was “inadequate,” the court said in its order. Its denial “should not be construed as the expression of any opinion on the merits of the constitutional question,” suggesting the justices could consider the issue in the future. There was no apparent objection.

Edward Bloom, founder of Students for Fair Admissions, said the court’s decision was a setback. “It is disappointing that for the foreseeable future, young men and women applying to West Point will have their race as a factor in admission or rejection,” he said in a statement.

The group successfully challenged race-conscious admissions at Harvard and the University of North Carolina during the court’s previous term, effectively ending policies that colleges across the country had relied on for decades to increase racial diversity.

Mr. Bloom appears to have launched his challenge specifically against one group of institutions excluded from the ruling: military academies.

In June, the judges 6 to 3 decision Ideologically divided, the admissions programs of Harvard and the University of North Carolina were declared illegal.

The majority believed Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. limited the scope of the decision by exempting military academies in a footnote.

He wrote that the court’s ruling does not apply to those institutions, including West Point, the Naval Academy and the Air Force Academy, because of their “potentially unique interests.”

Less than three months after decision was announced, student fair admissions File lawsuit against West Point Military Academyclaiming the institution’s admissions practices violated the Constitution.

pastry portends diversity Display information about its student body on its website. Recently registered classesThe class, expected to graduate in 2027, includes about 1,250 students, about 38% of whom are minorities, including 127 African Americans, 137 Hispanics, 170 Asian Americans and 18 Native Americans.

Students for Fair Admissions argued that the administration misinterpreted Chief Justice Roberts’ footnote as an exception for military academies. “Far from excluding,” the group said in its petition seeking relief, the court’s decision to limit race-conscious admissions does not address the issue of military academies simply because the Supreme Court “doesn’t know how they exploit race.”

The group argued that admissions at the country’s oldest military academy violated the standards set out in the Harvard case and was “worse than Harvard itself.”

The petition alleges that West Point has engaged in “uncontrolled racial discrimination” by giving racial preference to three categories of applicants: black, Hispanic and Native American candidates. The petition also says the school “uses race to determine which office reviews applications, how many people submit applications in advance” and what scores applicants need to earn. “

Students for Fair Admissions urged the court to act quickly because “every year this case flounderes in discovery, trial, or appeals, West Point labels and sorts thousands of applicants based on their skin color.”

exist briefing to governmentDeputy Attorney General Elizabeth B. Prelogar said West Point’s current admissions process should remain unchanged, arguing that students’ demands for fair admissions would force the academy to “abandon what the Army has done for generations.” Admissions procedures deemed to be military necessity”.

It described Wednesday’s deadline as arbitrary because West Point has been reviewing applications since August and has “already made offers of admission to hundreds of candidates,” representing a large portion of the Class of 2028 slots. .

Racial diversity among military leaders is critical to national security, the briefing added.

“For more than 40 years, our nation’s military leaders have determined that diversity in the Army’s officer corps is a national security imperative, and that achieving this diversity requires limited consideration of race in the selection of U.S. Military Academy cadets for service.” At West Point ,” Ms. Prelog wrote.

“A lack of diversity in leadership could jeopardize the Army’s ability to win wars,” she added, citing “decades of unresolved internal racial tensions that erupted during the Vietnam War.”

The Biden administration talked about military academies when it submitted a brief supporting Harvard and NC State last semester. The government says white military personnel make up 53% of active duty troops but 73% of officers. By comparison, black service members make up 18% of active-duty troops but 8% of officers. About one-fifth of the officers come from a military academy.

anemone Contributed reporting.

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