Judge Denies Injunction Temporarily Ending Naval Academy’s Race-Based Admissions

A federal judge recently struck down an injunction that could’ve temporarily ended the U.S. Naval Academy’s race-based admissions policies.

In September 2023, Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), an anti-affirmative action organization, filed a lawsuit against West Point and followed it up with a second lawsuit against the Naval Academy in October 2023.

The lawsuits came after SFFA had won two affirmative action-based cases involving Harvard University and the University of North Carolina (UNC) at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Despite such legal victories at the High Court, SFFA was dealt a blow by U.S. District Judge Richard Bennett, who ruled against the organization’s request for an injunction, arguing that the group has failed to prove that the military’s use of race-based admissions for its academies was discriminatory.

“This case will stop dead under the water,” Bennett said in his ruling.

Bennet, who served more than 20 years in the U.S. Army Reserve, explained that his ruling was not centered around the merits of the case.

The district judge said that there have “always been racial tensions in the military,” pointing out that “they have lessened, but they are still there.”

In its lawsuit, SFFA argued that the naval academy’s racial admissions violate the Fifth Amendment’s equal protection clause, prohibiting the government from discriminating against one over race.

“America’s enemies do not fight differently based on the race of the commanding officer opposing them,” SFFA wrote in its lawsuit. “Sailors must follow orders without regard to the skin color of those giving them and battlefield realities apply equally to all sailors regardless of race, ethnicity or national origin.”

Bennett was reportedly actively engaged with attorneys representing SFFA in the case. He called the granting of an injunction an “extraordinary remedy” and pointed out that he would issue a written opinion based on the merits soon.

The district judge said that although the Supreme Court’s decision in the Harvard University and UNC case was “transformative,” it was “not an absolute cookie cutter.”

SFFA informed Reuters of its intention to appeal Bennet’s ruling. The organization’s president, Edward Blum, told the Daily Caller, “SFFA is exploring our legal options in light of the court’s opinion.”