New DOJ Memo Shows Trump Intensifying Assault on Civil Rights

In a development civil rights groups characterized as “deeply disturbing,” the New York Times reported on Tuesday that the Trump Justice Department is looking to begin “investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants.”

“Throughout his career, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has pushed efforts to end affirmative action programs and he has a clear record of hostility to racial diversity.”
—Kristen Clarke, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

The plan is detailed in an internal Justice Department document obtained by the Times. The memo makes clear that the “new project” will be run not by career civil servants, who are usually tasked with handling school-related matters, but by Trump’s political appointees.

“Supporters and critics of the project said [the document] was clearly targeting admissions programs that can give members of generally disadvantaged groups, like black and Latino students, an edge over other applicants with comparable or higher test scores,” the Times notes.

Rights groups immediately expressed alarm, portraying the department’s memo as part of the Trump administration’s broad effort to roll back central civil rights provisions in crucial areas of American society, from schools to the workplace to the voting booth.