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West Point should end affirmative action in admissions, group tells US judge

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West Point should end affirmative action in admissions, group tells US judge

The group behind the successful U.S. Supreme Court challenge to race-conscious college admissions policies urged a federal judge on Thursday to block the U.S. Military Academy at West Point from considering race when evaluating candidates to attend the elite military school.

A lawyer for Students for Fair Admissions, a non-profit founded by affirmative action foe Edward Blum, told U.S. District Judge Philip Halpern in White Plains, New York, that a West Point policy designed to boost diversity within its ranks amounted to unconstitutional discrimination.

The lawyer, Patrick Strawbridge, pointed to the June ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 6-3 conservative majority that rejected policies long used by American colleges and universities to increase the number of Black, Hispanic and other minority students on U.S. campuses.

In invalidating admissions policies at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina, the Supreme Court did not address race in admissions at military academies, which Chief Justice John Roberts in a footnote said had “potentially distinct interests.”

Strawbridge said there was nothing special about the military academies compared to civilian universities that should legally allow them to give applicants of certain races a benefit in the admissions process over others, including white people.

“Racial discrimination is not made more palatable just because it wears a uniform,” Strawbridge said.

But Assistant U.S. Attorney Ellen Blain, arguing on behalf of Democratic President Joe Biden’s administration, countered that unlike a civilian university, West Point is training the next generation of Army officers who will lead soldiers into war.

She said the military deserved deference for its long-held assessment that establishing a racially and ethnically diverse officer corps is necessary to build combat-ready forces, an assessment rooted in a history of racial tensions in the military that has risked mission readiness. . . . (read more on Reuters)

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