Why did the Supreme Court keep affirmative action at service academies? : Code Switch In June, the Supreme Court banned affirmative action at colleges and universities across the country, with one glaring exception: military academies. On this episode, we're asking — why?

The Supreme Court banned affirmative action — except at military service academies

The Supreme Court banned affirmative action — except at military service academies

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Protesters for and against affirmative action demonstrate on Capitol Hill in June 2023. The Supreme Court ruled that race-conscious admissions programs at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina are unconstitutional. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images hide caption

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Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Protesters for and against affirmative action demonstrate on Capitol Hill in June 2023. The Supreme Court ruled that race-conscious admissions programs at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina are unconstitutional.

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

This summer, the Supreme Court overturned the legality of race-based affirmative action at higher education institutions everywhere, with one glaring exception: military service academies. Members of the conservative-leaning court like Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice John Roberts have long been staunch opponents of affirmative action initiatives, but in the case of service academies, the majority opinion cited that diversity in the officer ranks of the military was a "battlefield issue."

In this episode of Code Switch, co-hosts Gene Demby and Lori Lizarraga take us back to the Vietnam War to explain where that argument came from. And we'll hear from Mary Tobin, a Black woman, combat veteran, and West Point graduate, about why the Court's decision felt like such a blow to her.

This episode was produced with help from Courtney Stein and engineering support from James Willetts.