Federal Judge Says West Point Can Continue Using Race in Admissions

West Point
by Katelynn Richardson


A federal judge allowed the U.S. Military Academy at West Point on Wednesday to continue considering race as a factor in its admissions process.

Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), the same group whose lawsuits against Harvard University and the University of North Carolina prompted the Supreme Court to overturn affirmative action in June, sued West Point in September. U.S. District Judge Philip Halpern, a Trump appointee, declined to issue a preliminary injunction blocking the military school’s use of race, noting in his 27-page ruling that it is currently “mid-admissions cycle.”

Issuing an injunction now could “require West Point to withdraw already offered appointments and LOAs,” the judge wrote, along with impacting applicants in the new admissions cycle scheduled to begin Feb. 1.

“A full factual record is vital to answering this critical question whether the use of race in the admissions process at West Point furthers compelling governmental interests and whether the government’s use of race is narrowly tailored to achieve that interest,” the judge wrote. “The Court cannot enjoin West Point’s use of race in admissions without a full understanding, informed by a complete factual predicate, as to what exactly are the compelling interests asserted, to whom those compelling interests belong, and how in this specific case they are or are not narrowly tailored to achieve those interests.”

SFFA alleged in its lawsuit that the school’s race-based admissions policies violate the Fifth Amendment’s equal protection clause. A federal judge declined in December to block race-based admissions at the Naval Academy in response to a similar lawsuit brought by SFFA.

Chief Justice John Roberts specifically noted in his majority opinion that the Court’s ruling on affirmative action does not address military academies, which have “potentially distinct interests.”

SFFA founder Edward Blum told the Daily Caller News Foundation that SFFA is “reviewing the opinion and will be taking the next steps to stop the unfair and unconstitutional racial preferences at West Point.”

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Katelynn Richardson is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “West Point Students” by West Point – The U.S. Military Academy.





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