Sherrilyn A. Ifill writes: President Trump’s Justice Department has hardly been worthy of its name. It has retreated from meaningful police reform, argued on behalf of state laws that suppress minority voting rights, directed prosecutors to seek harsh sentences for nonviolent drug offenses, and extended the federal government’s power to seize the property of innocent Americans.
Each of these steps disproportionately and systematically burdens people of color, denying them their constitutional rights and widening the racial divides that this country has struggled for so long to close.
The Justice Department reportedly plans to open a new front in its assault on civil rights: higher education. According to a stunning document obtained by The New York Times, the department is seeking lawyers to oppose “intentional race-based discrimination” in college admissions.
This is a signal that the administration could be preparing to attack affirmative action, although the Justice Department denies this is the case. If this tactic were to succeed, it would be a severe blow to racial justice.
Affirmative action has proved to be one of the most effective tools for expanding opportunity and promoting diversity for students of color. Race-conscious admissions policies have made campuses across the country more representative of our society. In doing so, they have helped remedy inequality created by centuries of discrimination. [Continue reading…]