Universities Found to Violate Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause
The Supreme Court has denied an emergency request to halt affirmative action practices at West Point, stating that universities are violating the Constitution’s equal protection clause. This decision comes after a similar ruling earlier this year, in which the Court struck down affirmative action policies at Harvard and the University of North Carolina.
Students for Fair Admission Fight for Equality
The group Students for Fair Admission (SFFA) brought the emergency request to the Supreme Court, urging them to pause the practice while a lawsuit against West Point makes its way through the lower courts. SFFA has also filed a lawsuit against the Naval Academy.
Supreme Court Order
In denying the emergency request, the Supreme Court made it clear that the decision should not be seen as expressing any view on the constitutional question at hand. The Court noted that the record before them was underdeveloped, highlighting the need for further examination of the issue.
SFFA argued that West Point is not exempt from the previous ruling against Harvard. They claimed that two White West Point applicants, whom they represent, would suffer irreparable harm if the injunction was not granted. SFFA lawyers stated that the academy would illegally discriminate against thousands of applicants based on their skin color.
In response, U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar defended the policy, stating that a diverse Army officer corps is crucial for national security. She emphasized that limited consideration of race is necessary to achieve this diversity.
The government, opposing SFFA’s request, asked the Court to deny the injunction. They argued that forcing the Army to abandon policies deemed imperative by senior military leaders would harm the public interest in national defense.
Federal Judge’s Previous Decision
Earlier this month, a federal judge in New York denied SFFA’s request, stating that the group failed to demonstrate a likelihood of ultimate success. SFFA had requested a decision before West Point’s upcoming application deadline. The government highlighted that granting an injunction at this stage would cause profound disruption to the ongoing application process.
In the ongoing battle over affirmative action, both sides are fiercely advocating for their position. As the lawsuit against West Point progresses through the lower courts, the issue of racial equality in university admissions remains at the forefront of the national conversation.