Pending Department of Justice Policy
Reported on August 1, 2017
Update: December 2, 2017
It has now been confirmed that a DOJ investigation is looking into these policies at Harvard University. Confirmation of this investigation is unique because it is an investigation being done not for the white community but on behalf of a minority class — Asian-Americans. This is surprising considering the Trump Administration and Attorney General Sessions have struggled with accusations of pursuing racist policies. This DOJ investigation appears closely linked to a 2015 complaint against Harvard that was filed by numerous Asian – American organizations and was supported by the non – profit group that brought the Abigail Fisher case to the Supreme Court. This begs the question as to whether Asian – Americans and white conservative-leaning groups have banded together to oppose affirmative – action policies nationwide. Because of this, it is important to remember the statement made by two Asian – American commissioners on the U.S. Commission for Civil Rights. Michael Yaki and Karen Narasaki issued a joint statement in response to the 2015 complaint against Harvard that said: “we hope that this is a sincerely raised issue and not a backdoor attack on affirmative action that attempts to pit Asian Americans against other minorities, as other efforts have been.” That statement is critical because it may reveal Mr. Sessions’ true intention – to manipulate the Asian-American community into supporting his proposal to dismantle affirmative action. LEARN MORE, LEARN MORE, LEARN MORE
On August 1, 2017, the New York Times reported that the U.S. Department of Justice “is preparing to redirect resources…of the civil rights division toward investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants.” This move is likely in response to the 2016 U.S. Supreme Court case Fisher v. University of Texas which held that a “race conscious admissions program…is lawful under the Equal Protection Clause.” In that case, Abigail Fisher, a white woman, claimed her application to the University of Texas was rejected on the basis of her race. LEARN MORE
What the Department of Justice does not see in pursuing reverse discrimination cases is that there is no law that is preventing Abigail Fisher and whites as a class from pursuing a higher education. In “reverse discrimination against whites” arguments, the key difference for discrimination purposes is that whites are not completely barred from the activity – in this case, pursuing a college education. Abigail Fisher may not have been accepted into the University of Texas but she could still pursue a college education at any other university that would accept her.
A white woman being denied admission to a university is not comparable to racist policies that other minorities have had to endure in the United States through the years. Unlike Abigail Fisher’s situation, minority communities in the United States have had to endure laws that were designed to bar entire races and nationalities from participating in activities with no option to participate elsewhere. Jim Crow laws in Mississippi were designed to exclude blacks from voting. In Richard Rothstein’s book The Color of Law he shows how government housing funds mandated discrimination against African – Americans. And for a while in California, Chinese persons could not own property or testify against whites. The Department of Justice should use extreme caution in litigating affirmative actions policies that discriminate against whites because there is no concerted effort to completely bar the white community from higher education and other facets of daily life, which had been the experience of entire minority communities in America in years past. LEARN MORE, LEARN MORE, LEARN MORE
- Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) – nonprofit group promoting equal justice and equal opportunity.
- American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) – nonprofit group webpage on affirmative action.
- Asian American Legal Defense & Education Fund (AALDEF) – nonprofit FAQ page on affirmative action and Fisher v. University of Texas case from a minority community point of view.
This brief was compiled by Rod Maggay. If you have comments or want to add the name of your organization to this brief, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.