Showing posts with label Department of Justice Affirmative Action. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Department of Justice Affirmative Action. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Statement from Congressional Black Caucus Chairman on DOJ Plans to Attack Affirmative Action

Today, the Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), Congressman Cedric L. Richmond (D-La.), issued the following statement on Attorney General Jeff Sessions' decision to attack affirmative action efforts on college and university campuses:

“Attorney General Sessions continues to show us again and again who he is and what he is about.

“In January of this year, the CBC expressed grave concerns about the nomination of then Senator Sessions to the post of attorney general because of his decades-long record of hostility to civil rights and equality issues. The New York Times report that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is planning to use tax payer funds to expand its current assault on communities of color is more proof that our concerns were well-founded. In fact, with each passing day of the Trump Administration, the CBC’s worst fears about Attorney General Sessions are quickly becoming reality.

“Instead of standing up for himself to a president who called him ‘very weak’ and ‘beleaguered,’ Attorney General Sessions has chosen to pick on minority students who are in pursuit of a college education, opportunity, and the American Dream. In doing so, he’s appealing to the lowest common denominator in our country, people who wrongly believe that minority students who benefit from efforts to promote diversity and equality are ignorant, undeserving, and unqualified.

“Also, in doing so, he is re-litigating last year’s Supreme Court ruling upholding decades of precedent in favor of affirmative action in higher education. His re-litigation of settled law promotes the false narrative that efforts to ensure more people of color have access to higher education is a war on white people. It also chills diversity and equality efforts in higher education by intimidating the academic community.

“In Fisher v. University of Texas, the Supreme Court held that colleges and universities had a ‘lawful’ and ‘compelling interest’ in including racial diversity as a part of their mission because of the ‘educational benefits that flow from student body diversity.’ The court also held that race could be considered along with merit-based criteria in admissions decisions. Now, Attorney General Sessions wants to turn back the clock to the darker days in our history when minority students couldn’t get into the schools of their choice because of racist admissions practices.

“In addition to this attack on Affirmative Action, Attorney General Sessions has taken steps to increase voter suppression, promote private prisons, revive the failed war on drugs, and incentivize mass incarceration, which hurts families and communities. The CBC is strongly opposed to these efforts and will continue to push back on DOJ’s obvious attempts to limit the rights of communities of color.”

John Conyers statement on Trump Administration Plans to attack affirmative action

Representatives Bobby Scott (VA-03) and John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13), the ranking members of the House Committees on Education and the Workforce and the Judiciary, respectively, issued the following statement after reports surfaced that the Department of Justice plans to attack and undermine affirmative action programs in colleges and universities.

“While we cannot comment on the veracity of this alleged memo, we are deeply concerned by news reports that the Department of Justice intends to challenge the application of affirmative action programs in colleges and universities. What is already clear is the Trump Administration’s public record of attacking civil rights protections on multiple fronts.

“As ranking members, we led 86 Members of the House in an amicus brief in support of affirmative action programs in higher education. We were one of nearly 70 organizations to take the same position, including retired Chiefs of Staff of our nation’s Armed Services, leading Fortune 500 companies, academics, 19 state governors, the faith community and many others. The position that we took was ultimately affirmed by the Supreme Court – the consideration of race and ethnicity to achieve diversity in admissions is a constitutional and is a compelling state interest that can be achieved through narrowly tailored means.

“Whether it is the Department of Justice’s decision to examine the use of consent decrees with state and local police departments, which are designed to reduce instances of police brutality and discriminatory treatment; Attorney General Session’s decision to return to the harsh application of mandatory minimum sentences which have been proven to be racially discriminatory and counterproductive to reducing crime; the White House’s so-called election integrity commission which purports to “solve” voter fraud while requesting the most personal data of the Nation’s 200 million registered voters; or efforts to weaken the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) – agencies charged with the enforcement of employment nondiscrimination laws, the Trump administration has not wasted any opportunity to roll back existing civil rights protections for underrepresented minorities.

“Further, the Administration’s reactionary efforts were signaled in the White House’s proposed budget to which reduces or eliminated funding tied to the enforcement of federal civil rights laws. The Trump Administration’s budget undermines the constitutional promise of Brown v. Board of Education by cutting federal funding to support public schools that serve our nation’s poorest students. It proposes elimination of the environmental justice program, gutting the primary tool to examine and address the impact of environmental policies and decisions on communities of color, low-income and tribal communities. And proving the adage “any rights without remedies are no rights at all,” the President’s budget proposes eliminating federal funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) that provides civil legal aid for low income Americans to help them have their day in court.

“These actions, already on the record, provide a clear, yet unsettling picture of this Administration’s hostile view of the federal government’s role in protecting civil rights.”

NAACP denounces DOJ's plan to target Affirmative Action Programs


The NAACP, the country’s original and largest social justice organization denounces the U.S. Department of Justice’s plans to investigate and sue higher education institutions whose admission policies promote the inclusion of people of color. The NAACP issued the following statement.

Trump’s Justice Department seems laser-focused on achieving rights and privileges for ‘just-us’; totally excluding people of color. It’s not enough that President Trump proposes to radically cut the 2018 education budget and undermine public schools which would adversely affect African-Americans and his supporters alike, but now his Administration is preparing to investigate and prosecute colleges and universities that strive to admit more people of color.” said Derrick Johnson, interim president and CEO. “Affirmative action was not created as a way for African-Americans, Latinos, or Asian-Americans to get an unfair advantage over their white peers. It’s a mechanism to level the playing field and create equal opportunity for people of color following decades of oppression. We should foster efforts to promote diversity on college and university campuses not hinder it.”

“The Supreme Court has ruled time and time again that affirmative action policies are consistent with our Constitution. For the Justice Department to even suggest otherwise is not only disrespectful to the highest court in the land, it’s un-American and plain ol’ nasty,” said Leon Russell, chairman of the NAACP board of directors. “Practices like investigating universities and colleges for affirmative action policies continue to demonstrate that President Trump is wholly disinterested in the prosperity of black people. The NAACP counts education as one of the essential elements African-Americans — and all Americans – need to achieve a healthy community. The Justice Department’s covert decision to make higher education more difficult for African-Americans to attain is underhanded and won’t be tolerated.”