Trump DOJ to Fight Colleges on Affirmative Action
Administration targets discriminatory, race-based admissions policies that violate civil rights
The Trump administration will begin to prosecute colleges that practice extreme affirmative action policies for violations of civil rights law, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
The Justice Department recently sent out an internal memo in search of department lawyers who would be interested in working on “investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions,” according to The Times.
Leading conservative legal experts applauded the decision.
“Engaging in racial preferences in the admissions process is racial discrimination that violates federal law,” Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, told LifeZette.
"It is only allowed in very limited circumstances under very narrow guidelines according to the Supreme Court, as it said most recently in the Fisher v. UT-Austin case," but "universities all over the country are unlawfully discriminating on the basis of race in their admissions, and they should be held accountable," Spakovsky said.
Designed in theory to give historically disadvantaged minorities a helping hand, affirmative action in practice has often been accused of causing outright discrimination against qualified white and Asian prospective students.
"There are already private lawsuits ongoing against Princeton and Harvard for such discrimination by Asian-American students, because those universities have put caps on the number of Asian-Americans they will accept to make room for other, black and Hispanic, students," said Spakovsky. "That is another result of this type of blatant, un-American discrimination."
Roger Clegg, president of the conservative Center for Equal Opportunity, told The New York Times that the Trump administration's "welcome" move is "long overdue."
"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," he told The Times.
Spakovsky said that the reason it has taken so long for an administration to address the clear discrimination at the heart of many college affirmative action programs is that many in the Justice Department itself have been far more interested in pursuing "social justice" than upholding civil rights.
"The Justice Department has just ignored this for a long time [because] the unethical and unprofessional liberal career lawyers inside the Civil Rights Division have no interest in pursuing these types of cases," he said.
The Times also reported the memo announcing the anti-affirmative-action initiative requested that applicants submit their resumes by August 9, suggesting that the effort to end racial discrimination in college admissions will be in full swing by the fall.