The DOJ’s Renewed Affirmative Action Focus

Internal Justice Department announcements point to pending action on race-conscious admissions policies

The Justice Department is preparing to investigate universities over their affirmative action policies, according to an internal announcement obtained earlier this month.

The memo describes a project for which the department seeks current lawyers to work on investigations involving “intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions.”

The memo suggests that the project will divert resources from the civil rights division and that it will be headed by the front office, which is where Trump administration appointees work, rather than the Educational Opportunities office that is normally tasked with issues involving university policies. That office is run by career government officials.

University of Colorado Law School professor Melissa Hart said that though there is still a lack of clarity regarding the DOJ’s intentions, she noted that affirmative action has been a highly politicized issue.

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