The Trump Administration has rescinded the Obama-era guidelines that encouraged American schools, colleges and institutes of higher education to use race and ethnicity as a factor in the admissions process to promote diversity among students.
The Trump administration will argue that the recommendations outlined during Obama's term go beyond legal limits and that guidelines provided to schools for boosting minority students are legally misleading, the Journal reported.
Anurima Bhargava, who headed civil rights enforcement in schools for the Justice Department under President Barack Obama and co-authored the Obama-era guidance, said that the policy withdrawal was timed for brief filings in the Harvard litigation, due at the end of the month.
"In the Trump administration, we are restoring the rule of law", Sessions said in a statement. This was consistent with Supreme Court precedent that has permitted affirmative action but narrowly limited its use.
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Trump has consistently scrapped many policies that were put in place by President Obama.
"The Supreme Court has determined what affirmative action policies are Constitutional, and the Court's written decisions are the best guide for navigating this complex issue".
"White women and Asian-Americans have been the biggest beneficiaries of affirmative action programs", Vicki Shu, vice president of public affairs at OCA - Asian Pacific American Advocates, said in statement.
But a senior Justice Department official denied that these decisions were rolling back protections for minorities.
Peter McDonough, vice president and general counsel of the American Council on Education, which represents college and university presidents, said he doubted schools would change admission policies based exclusively on Tuesday's announcement. The new pronouncement does not have the force of law, and schools committed to the practice can continue to use it. The court also has said quotas are illegal, unconstitutional. "It isn't shocking that guidance would be withdrawn", he said.
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When an institution is taking an individual student's race into account in an admissions or selection process, it should conduct an individualized, holistic review of all applicants.
It has the effect of bringing the federal government's position on affirmative action close to that of the George W. Bush administration which held that race could be considered only if a university had no other way of achieving a diverse student class.
The new affirmative action guidance could add to an already contentious fight over the next justice. We have a Supreme Court that in recent years has been active in giving directives and direction to colleges and universities about what they can or cannot do.
Schools could also lose funding from the Education Department if they don't practice race-blind admission processes. These guidances were not talking about court-ordered desegregation or something like that.
"They've obviously been looking at the case for nearly a year now", Clegg said.
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