Students for Fair Admissions, an organization well-known for opposing racial discrimination in college admissions practices, has launched a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Naval Academy, escalating the continuing dispute over affirmative action. After a recent lawsuit against the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, this legal action is the organization’s second challenge to affirmative action in U.S. military academies. The cases seek to remove an exemption from the June opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court that permits military schools to use race as a criterion for admitting students.

An Overview
Students for Fair Admissions was established by Edward Blum, an opponent of affirmative action, and has been leading legal campaigns against admissions rules that discriminate based on race. The new legal actions directed towards West Point and the U.S. Naval Academy aim to contest the exception bestowed for military institutions by the Supreme Court’s June decision.

Legal Justification: In a statement, Edward Blum claimed that there was no legal basis for the Naval Academy to treat prospective midshipmen applicants differently on the basis of their color and ethnicity. The action, which was submitted to a federal court in Baltimore, claims that the academy’s admissions procedures are biased and go against the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection.

Supreme Court Decision: In June, the conservative majority of the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the nation’s long-standing, racially discriminatory admissions practices at American schools and universities. Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged “potentially distinct interests,” so the decision did not address the use of race in admissions to military schools.

Diversity in the Military: The Biden administration claimed in a brief during the Supreme Court case that the U.S. military cannot function effectively without a diverse officer corps. Disparities in the racial makeup of military officers were found in a 2020 Defense Department report, underscoring the necessity of taking race into account during the admissions process in order to create a more diversified officer corps.

Legal Argument: According to Students for Fair Admissions, the Naval Academy’s admissions procedures prioritize “racial balancing” over assessing candidates’ capacity for leadership and objective measures. The complaint contests the academy’s enrolment trends, claiming that admitted midshipmen’s demographics nearly resemble those of prior years.

Statistics and Demographics: According to the lawsuit, 676, 75, and 117 applicants—or out of 12,927—were White, Black, and Asian, respectively, for the academy’s 2026 class. According to the group, these enrolment figures demonstrate a practice of “racially balancing” the new cohort each year.