The Trump administration plans to have the U.S. Department of Justice’s civil rights division investigate and sue colleges and universities for their affirmative action admissions policies, according to the New York Times.
Citing a Justice Department internal memo, the Times reported Tuesday night that the program would be run out of the civil-rights division’s front office and is seeking lawyers who would be tasked with rooting out “intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions.” The front office is overseen by Trump administration political appointees, not career employees.
The new plan would be the latest in a string of reversals of Justice Department policies implemented under the Obama administration that had focused on police reform and protecting voting rights and gay rights.
The U.S. Supreme Court — most notably last year in Fisher v. University of Texas — has ruled that universities may use affirmative action admissions policies, essentially saying that the institutions can continue to consider race as one factor among many in ensuring a diverse student body. Critics have argued that affirmative action policies sometimes go too far and end up discriminating against White and Asian-American applicants.
The Justice Department has declined to comment on the new initiative.