The policy instituted by the Obama administration claimed to be an effort to institute diversity on campuses, except the policy chose to discriminate based on factors out of students’ control, rather than on what they could control. Naturally, the leftist progressives are crying racism over this new policy change.
According to the New York Times – “Last November, Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked the Justice Department to re-evaluate past policies that he believed pushed the department to act beyond what the law, the Constitution and the Supreme Court had required, Devin M. O’Malley, a Justice Department spokesman said. As part of that process, the Justice Department rescinded seven policy guidance from the Education Department’s civil rights division on Tuesday.
‘The executive branch cannot circumvent Congress or the courts by creating guidance that goes beyond the law and — in some instances — stays on the books for decades,’ Mr. O’Malley said.
Now, affirmative action is at a crossroads. The Trump administration is moving against any use of race as a measurement of diversity in education. And the retirement of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy at the end of this month will leave the court without its swing vote on affirmative action and allow President Trump to nominate a justice opposed to a policy that for decades has tried to integrate elite educational institutions.
A highly anticipated case is pitting Harvard against Asian-American students who say one of the nation’s most prestigious institutions has systematically excluded some Asian-American applicants to maintain slots for students of other races. That case is clearly aimed at the Supreme Court.
The Obama administration believed that students benefit from being surrounded by diverse classmates, so in 2011, the administration offered schools a potential road map to establishing affirmative action policies that could withstand legal scrutiny. The guidance was controversial at the time that it was issued, for its far-reaching interpretation of the law. Justice officials said that pages of hypothetical scenarios offered in the guidance were particularly problematic, as they clearly bent the law to specific policy preferences.
In a pair of policy guidance documents, the Obama Education and Justice departments told elementary and secondary schools and college campuses to use ‘the compelling interests” established by the court to achieve diversity. They concluded that the Supreme Court “has made clear such steps can include taking account of the race of individual students in a narrowly tailored manner.’