According to the New York Times, the Trump administration is preparing to “redirect” the resources of the DOJ’s civil rights division to investigate and sue universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against WHITE applicants.
The document obtained by the Times is an internal announcement to the civil rights division says it is seeking lawyers interested in working for a new project on
“investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions.”
This new announcement says that the project might be be run out of the division’s front office, where Trump’s appointees work, rather than its Educational Opportunities Section, which is run by career civil servants and usually handles work involving schools and universities.
Critics of the project said it was clearly targeting admissions programs that can give members of disadvantaged groups, like black and Latino students, an edge over other applicants with comparable or higher test scores, another sign that the civil rights division is taking on a conservative bent under Trump and his much-maligned AG, Jeff Sessions.
Roger Clegg, a former top official in the civil rights division during the Reagan administration said,
“The civil rights laws were deliberately written to protect everyone from discrimination, and it is frequently the case that not only are whites discriminated against now, but frequently Asian-Americans are as well.“
But Kristen Clarke, the president of the liberal Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, criticized it,
“This is deeply disturbing. It would be a dog whistle that could invite a lot of chaos and unnecessarily create hysteria among colleges and universities who may fear that the government may come down on them for their efforts to maintain diversity on their campuses.”
The Supreme Court voted 4 to 3 to uphold a race-conscious program at the University of Texas at Austin but there are several pending lawsuits, including Harvard. DOJ has not taken a position in those cases.
In 2009, the Obama administration vowed to revitalize the agency and hired career officials who brought in many new lawyers with experience working for traditional, liberal-leaning civil-rights organizations.
This comes on the heels other changes in Justice Department policy on voting rights, gay rights and police reforms, so we shall see what it brings. But this is clearly another step toward taking away rights and undoing the previous administration’s legacy which seems to be Trump’s two word agenda and overriding policy toward EVERYTHING.
(Screengrab via NY Times)