While the Supreme Court ruled Thursday against affirmative action in college admissions, the conservative majority opinion noted an exception related to national defense, saying military academies were not covered by the decision court
The US government had argued in an amicus brief that “race-based admissions programs advance compelling interests in our nation’s military academies,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in that opinion.
“However, no military academies are parties to these cases, and none of the courts below addressed the propriety of race-based admissions systems in this context. Nor does this opinion address the issue, in light of the potentially diverging interests that can be presented by the military academies”.
One legal expert said this passage in Roberts tarnishes the prospects for affirmative action.
“One of the problems with the drafting of the military academies is that it suggests that the apparently inflexible constitutional rule that the majority articulates today may not be inflexible,” said Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas at Austin. in a Bloomberg TV interview Thursday.
“Between that and the approval of the chief’s opinion where it leaves open the possibility that a single applicant could talk about how race shaped their experience, I think affirmative action as we know it is dead , but if that means there won’t be room for colleges and universities to consider race in the future, I don’t think it’s settled.”
Justices Ketanji Brown Jackson and Sonia Sotomayor attacked how the majority addressed military academies.
“The Court has relied on the substantive conclusion that racial diversity in higher education is worth preserving only to the extent necessary to prepare black Americans and other underrepresented minorities to succeed in the bunker, not in the boardroom,” Jackson said. he wrote in his dissent.
Sotomayor said in a separate dissent that “national security interests are also involved in civilian universities,” referring to ties between the defense industry and many colleges.
“The Court’s exclusion only highlights the arbitrariness of its decision and further demonstrates that the Fourteenth Amendment does not categorically prohibit the use of race in college admissions,” he added.
Democratic Rep. Jason Crow of Colorado also offered criticism, saying the ruling is “absolutely grotesque to exempt military academies.”
“The court says diversity shouldn’t matter EXCEPT when deciding who can fight and die for our country, reinforcing the idea that these communities can sacrifice for America but not be full participants in any other way “. Crow tweetedan Army veteran who served in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Meanwhile, Republican Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi applauded the court’s ruling on affirmative action, tweeting which “stated that merit should be the focus of college admissions nationally” and he pointed out who has introduced a bill that seeks to “further prohibit our military service academies from engaging in affirmative action based on race.”
There are five U.S. military academies: one for the Air Force in Colorado Springs, Colo.; one for the Army at West Point, NY; one for the Coast Guard in New London, Conn.; one for the Navy in Annapolis, Maryland; and one for the merchant marine at Kings Point, NY
Defense stocks, as tracked by the iShares US Aerospace and Defense ETF ITA,
they’ve gained 18% over the past 12 months, while the S&P 500 is also up 18%.
Now read: The Supreme Court ended affirmative action in colleges. This could hurt companies’ diversity efforts.