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Anti-affirmative action group sues Naval Academy over race-based admissions policies

By Devan Cole, CNN

Washington (CNN) — The US Naval Academy was sued Thursday over its use of race in its admissions practices by the same anti-affirmative action group whose lawsuits against Harvard and the University of North Carolina led the Supreme Court to declare race-based admissions policies unlawful earlier this year.

In a 28-page lawsuit filed with a federal court in Maryland, the conservative group Students for Fair Admissions said that the academy “has no justification for using race-based admissions” and argued that its policy of using race as a factor in admissions runs afoul of the US Constitution.

The school, attorneys for the group wrote in its complaint, “openly acknowledges that race is determinative for some applicants. Because the Academy provides a racial ‘benefit’ to some applicants but not to others,’ it ‘necessarily advantages the former group at the expense of the latter.’”

Thursday’s lawsuit is the second challenge brought in recent weeks by SFFA against the admissions policies of US military schools. Last month, the group filed a federal lawsuit against the US Military Academy at West Point, asking a judge to prohibit the New York school from “considering or knowing” an applicant’s race during the admissions process.

In June, the Supreme Court ruled that colleges and universities could no longer take race into consideration as a specific basis for granting admissions – except for US military service academies. It was a significant decision against affirmative action policies, which have focused on improving opportunities for historically excluded minorities.

In a footnote in the majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts said that the cases before the court did “not address the issue” and left open the possibility that there are “potentially distinct interests that military academies may present” in a future case.

The group argued in its suit against the Naval Academy that it believed the court’s holding earlier this year “makes it perfectly clear that the Academy’s use of race in admissions is unconstitutional.”

CNN has reached out to the Naval Academy for comment.

™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Ariane de Vogue and Jamiel Lynch contributed to this report.

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