In the 6-3 decision along party lines, the court's conservative judges determined that Harvard and the University of North Carolina's affirmative action programs “unavoidably employ race in a negative manner, involve racial stereotyping, and lack meaningful end points.”
However, in a footnote, Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed that military academies were not included in the ruling, noting that they hold "potentially distinct interests that military academies may present."
“No military academy is a party to these cases, however, and none of the courts below addressed the propriety of race-based admissions systems in that context," he wrote.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor expressed her disdain with the decision in a dissenting opinion, questioning how the military’s interests are different from those of civilians.
“To the extent the Court suggests national security interests are ‘distinct,’ those interests cannot explain the Court’s narrow exemption, as national security interests are also implicated at civilian universities,” she wrote. “The Court’s carveout only highlights the arbitrariness of its decision and further proves that the Fourteenth Amendment does not categorically prohibit the use of race in college admissions."
Legislators and military officials alike have questioned the decision, including Rep. Jason Crow of Colorado, a Democrat and former Army Ranger, who called the exception for military academies “outright grotesque.”
“This decision is deeply upsetting but outright grotesque for exempting military academies," he wrote on Twitter. 'The court is saying diversity shouldn’t matter, EXCEPT when deciding who can fight and die for our country — reinforcing the notion that these communities can sacrifice for America but not be full participants in every other way."
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