WASHINGTON (CN) – President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions are expected to order the Department of Justice to investigate and sue universities for admission policies that discriminate against white people, according to an internal memo to its Civil Rights Division.
The New York Times reported on the document Tuesday night, calling it an “internal announcement to the civil rights division.”
Citing the memo, the Times said the Justice Department has put out a call for attorneys to “work on investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions.”
The phrase “intentional race-based discrimination” appears to be de facto code words for affirmative action policies, which Sessions and others have characterized as anti-white.
The alleged plan was quickly denounced Wednesday morning. NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund president Sherrilyn Ifill promised her group would not remain idle if such a campaign begins.
“From Brown v. Board of Education to Fisher v. UT Austin, [the Legal Defense Fund] has fought to ensure that every child is afforded an equal opportunity to succeed, and we will bring the full force of the law as this Justice Department attempts to re-segregate our institutions of higher learning,” Ifill said.
In Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin in 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court narrowly upheld, by 4-3 vote, an affirmative action admissions policy at UT-Austin. Several similar lawsuits are pending, against Harvard and the University of North Carolina, among others.
Dennis Parker, director of the ACLU’s racial justice program, said Wednesday, the organization finds the reports about the administration’s directive to the DOJ is “disturbing.”
“That they would create this office, which appears to be a political office, to deal with this question … it’s disturbing. The law is very clear, there is a compelling government interest in having diverse student bodies. There are pretty clear directions on how to structure these programs,” Parker said. “To prioritize complaints that may have an effect of reducing opportunities for people who have been excluded from participation in higher education is contrary to programs that are consistent with the U.S. Constitution and the law.”