WASHINGTON, DC – June 30, 2023: Truman National Security Project believes that diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility, and justice are vital to the strength and excellence of our national security institutions. We denounce the Supreme Court’s recent decisions, including on Affirmative Action, student loan debt relief, and limiting LGBTQI+ protections, which we believe pose a collective risk to national security.
American universities serve as indispensable pipelines for national security talent, and these decisions, as Justice Sotomayor underscored in her dissent on Thursday, “[subvert] the constitutional guarantee of equal protection by further entrenching racial inequality in education, the very foundation of our democratic government and pluralistic society.” Measures that strip away pathways to foster open and inclusive societies weaken our standing as a country that values diversity and champions moral and just democracy.
The Court’s exemption of military service academies from Thursday’s affirmative action decision contradicts its own rationale. Such an exemption reinforces a recognition that the national security imperative for diversity exists but fails to extend that same recognition to civilian universities, even though they are major contributors of national security talent.
Further, today’s decisions gut student loan debt relief and limit protections to LGBTQI+ Americans. On the former, the decision removes another pathway to higher education at a time when our national security community is in need of an especially expansive surge of talent. On the latter, the Court has granted a business open to the public the right to refuse service to a protected class, a ruling which opens pathways for broader discriminatory practices.
Truman will continue to imbue its programming, membership activities, and organizational operations with a ceaseless commitment to equity, inclusion, justice, and access to fulfill our mission: to unite and equip a diverse community of American leaders to produce timely, innovative, and principled solutions to complex national security challenges. As Justice Sotomayor notes, “ignoring race will not equalize a society that is racially unequal. What was true in the 1860s, and again in 1954, is true today: Equality requires acknowledgment of inequality.”
Truman is a high-impact community because of the diversity of its members and the perspectives they bring, and we stand in solidarity with those directly impacted by these rulings. Such measures strengthen our resolve to ensure that national security institutions look like America, because we know that an inclusive national security workforce makes our nation stronger, safer, and more prosperous.