Supreme Court turns down race-based admission case

 February 3, 2024

The justices of the U.S. Supreme Court have decided not to get involved in a lawsuit alleging race-based admissions practices at West Point, the well-known military school. 

Reuters reports that the justices refused to stop West Point from continuing in these alleged race-based admissions practices while the case continues to be litigated.

To clarify, the justices did not rule on the merits of the case. Rather, they decided whether or not to maintain the status quo while the case continues.

There is still a possibility that the case will, at some point, make it before the Supreme Court on the merits. But, for now, the Supreme Court is content with allowing things to play out a the lower levels of the judiciary.

The case

The lawsuit, according to the Washington Examinercomes from a conservative student group known as the Students For Fair Admissions (SFFA).

To put the matter simply, the student group alleges that West Point improperly uses race as a factor in its admissions practices, and the student group wants this to stop.

The group is relying on the Supreme Court's recent decision against Harvard University's race-based admission practices, but there is a catch. The Examiner explains:

When the high court struck down affirmative action policies at private and state schools last summer in its 6-3 [Harvard] ruling, it provided a footnote in the opinion noting military academies were not part of the case . . .

The West Point case has yet to be heard on its merits, at any level of the judiciary. The student group, in the meantime, has been trying to get a court to tell West Point that it has to stop engaging in these alleged race-based admissions practices while litigation continues.

In September, the student group asked a federal court in New York to issue the ban, but the court refused. Then, the student group brought the matter to the U.S. Supreme Court. But, it, too, has now refused to issue the ban.


The justices of the Supreme Court issued their order - denying the student group's request - on Friday.

The justices emphasized the fact that their order has nothing to do with the merits of the case. They wrote, "The record before this Court is underdeveloped, and this order should not be construed as expressing any view on the merits of the constitutional question."

Edward Blum, the president of SFFA, has issued a statement on the justices' ruling.

"It is disappointing that the young men and women who apply to West Point for the foreseeable future will have their race used as a factor to admit or reject them," he said.

Blum added, "Every year this case languishes in discovery, trial and appeals means that our nation’s best and brightest young men and women will be classified, sorted, and preferred based on their skin color rather than just on their abilities."

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