In an update today, July 3, it appears as though the Trump administration plans to completely disregard Affirmative Action policies instilled by Barack Obama during his term as president.
As reported by The New York Times, the administration will apparently encourage the nation's school superintendents and college deans to not allow race to be a deciding factor in admissions. This decision is the antithesis of the policy enacted by Obama while he was in office that called on places of education to allow race to be a considerable factor in admissions in hopes to help further diversify college campuses.
Once the policies are reversed, it would return rules for admission back to how they were during George W. Bush's term, which was an emphasized encouragement that admissions offices use race-neutral methods for selecting prospective students to attend their institutions.
During Obama's presidency, the emphasis was put on students being involved in a diverse classroom setting, and how that would greatly help development and race relations into the future. The administration even offered schools somewhat of a "road map" to navigate the legality of these new Affirmative Actions.
As part of a policy overhaul last November, Attorney General Jeff Sessions made a request of the Justice Department to reevaluate certain aspects of the law that he deemed acted beyond the will of the Constitution and the Supreme Court. Continuing this "overhaul" process, the department rescinded seven individual policy guidelines from the Education Department's civil rights division.
"The executive branch cannot circumvent Congress or the courts by creating guidance that goes beyond the law and — in some instances — stays on the books for decades," said Devin M. O'Malley, a spokesman for the Justice Department.
With these revelations, it is possible that the Supreme Court is steadily working to limit any possible way for an educational institution to use race as a deciding factor in attempts to diversify their student bodies. Although it is not fully illegalized yet, the proposed reversal may be setting the foundation for that to come to fruition.
With the retirement of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy at the end of this month, the Supreme Court will be without its crucial swing vote on affirmative action. This could more than likely spur President Trump to appoint a new judge that is just as opposed to the policies as he is, effectively eliminating Affirmative Action in education.