Guidance on Use of Race in College Admissions

Affirmative Action, Race in Admissions, Use of Race in Admissions

The Trump administration aims to end the practice of Affirmative Action in college admissions.

It’s not exactly breaking news that the Trump administration is throwing its muscle behind the fight to end the practice of Affirmative Action. The United States Department of Justice, under the stewardship of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has made no secret of its support for Students for Fair Admissions’ case against Harvard University in which the group alleges the school discriminates against Asian American applicants. The administration has made no secret of its antipathy toward the practice of Affirmative Action. But the Trump administration’s decision to reverse Obama-era guidance (note guidance is not law) on the use of race in college admissions has made headlines this week nonetheless.

7 Guidance Documents Related to Affirmative Action Rescinded by Department of Justice

As Laura Jarrett and Clare Foran report for “CNN” in a piece entitled “Trump administration reverses Obama-era guidance on use of race in college admissions,” “The Trump administration on Tuesday rescinded a set of Obama-era policies that promoted using race to achieve diversity in schoolsteeing up new battle lines over admissions standards. While the decision does not change current US law on affirmative action, it provides a strong illustration of the administration’s position on an issue that could take on renewed attention with the departure of Justice Anthony Kennedy from the Supreme Court. Attorney General Jeff Sessions made the official announcement Tuesday afternoon…Last year, Sessions announced that he was ending the practice of the Justice Department issuing ‘guidance documents’ that have the ‘effect of adopting new regulatory requirements or amending the law’ but do not go through the formal rulemaking process. As a result, 25 documents were rescinded in December and 24 additional ones were rescinded Tuesday, including seven related to affirmative action.”

Supreme Court Justice Pick Supersedes Guidance Documents

So what does it mean that the U.S. Department of Justice is rescinding seven President Obama-era guidance documents related to Affirmative Action? Well, not much at all. While it may make for juicy headlines, it doesn’t change law. However, Monday’s looming announcement by President Trump of his administration’s new Supreme Court pick to fill the seat of the iconic Justice Kennedy can indeed lead to a change in law with respect to Affirmative Action. That pick is a whole lot more newsworthy than the DOJ’s announcement about these guidance documents…wouldn’t our readers say?

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