President Donald Trump’s administration is expected to rescind Obama-era guidelines persuading colleges to use race in their admission decisions on Tuesday.
The administration will argue that the Obama-era Justice and Education Department documents, released between 2011 and 2016, deceive colleges into thinking that affirmative action is easier to execute than what is allowed under the law, reported The Wall Street Journal.
“The law on this hasn’t changed, and the Supreme Court has twice ruled reaffirming the importance of diversity,” Obama Justice Department official Anurima Bhargava, who led civil rights enforcement, told WSJ. “This is a purely political attack that benefits nobody.”
Race-based admission guidelines will be rescinded amid a lawsuit filed by Students for Fair Admissions against Harvard University, alleging that the institution discriminates against Asian American applicants. The plaintiff asserted that the Ivy League university regularly docked Asian American candidates on the basis of their personality, earlier in June.
The Supreme Court has revisited race-based college admissions multiple times since the 1970s. The court upheld affirmative action by a 4-3 vote in 2016, with Justice Anthony Kennedy writing in the majority opinion that colleges must constantly review the “positive and negative” results of their affirmative action policies.
The Education Department did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
“The Obama guidance in this area was bad law and bad policy, and it’s good news if it is indeed being withdrawn,” Center for Equal Opportunity president Roger Clegg said in a press release. “Being opposed to racial preferences is not being against diversity, which is what the critics will claim: It’s simply being against discrimination. The federal government should not be going out of its way to encourage such discrimination, which is what the Obama guidance did.”
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