Anti-affirmative-action group sues West Point over race in admissions


A group opposed to racial preferences filed a lawsuit Tuesday that seeks to end race-conscious admissions at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., a few months after the Supreme Court struck down similar programs in other sectors of higher education.

The suit from Students for Fair Admissions alleges that the admissions program at the academy — which takes race into account, among other factors, in the selection of a class of future Army officers — is unconstitutional and unneeded for a military service that relies on soldiers following orders regardless of the skin color of the superiors who issue them.


The suit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The plaintiff is the same group that challenged race-conscious admissions at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Supreme Court struck down those programs in June in a landmark decision that severely limited the role of race in college admissions.

But the court’s majority opinion, in a footnote, left open the question of race in admissions to the military service academies. The footnote stated that no military academies were a party to those lawsuits and that courts had not addressed “the propriety of race-based admissions systems in that context.”

Academy officials did not immediately respond Tuesday afternoon to a request for comment.

Three other military academies also consider race in admissions, government officials say. They are the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Air Force Academy and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.