The Trump administration is directing the Justice Department’s civil rights division to investigate universities that employ affirmative action admissions policies.
Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote a nuanced opinion that allowed the university to continue its limited use of race in admissions decisions, just over a year ago in the case Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was denied a federal judgeship in the 1980s due to concerns that he is too racist, now runs the Justice Department, which is redirecting resources of its civil rights division toward investigating and suing universities over affirmative action policies that discriminate against white applicants.”
“This proposal would dedicate valuable Department of Justice resources towards a shameful targeting of minority students pursuing higher education,” said Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ). “Not only does this effort contradict decades of precedent in favor of affirmative action in higher education, it also transparently appeals to the worst instincts of a small but vocal contingent of President Trump’s supporters.”
Leading Trump’s attack on minority college enrollment is Sessions, who was called unfit to serve in federal government by Martin Luther King’s widow, Coretta Scott King.
Coretta Scott King in 1986 told the United States Senate that “I do not believe Jefferson Sessions possesses the requisite judgment, competence, and sensitivity to the rights guaranteed by the federal civil rights laws’ to serve as a federal judge.”
She urged the Senate to reject Sessions’ nomination for a federal judgeship, arguing that he had “used the power of his office as United States Attorney to intimidate and chill the free exercise of the ballot by citizens.”
“From 1996 to 2012, African-American enrollment in colleges and universities increased 72 percent, and minority graduation rates have increased as well,” said Pallone. “Studies have also shown that students of all races have benefitted as a result of affirmative action policies through improved intellectual engagement, citizenship, and cognitive skills. I will do everything in my power to prevent the implementation of this effort to use the Department of Justice as a tool against minority achievement.”
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