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AG Sessions Threatens to Sue Colleges For Denying White Applicants

AG Sessions Threatens to Sue Colleges For Denying White Applicants

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions ignored the Supreme Court mandate in Fisher when he announced his intention to sue colleges and universities that allow race to factor into admissions decisions. In other words, Sessions seeks to scare colleges and universities into admitting more unqualified, white applicants.

According to Charlie Savage of the New York Times, "The Trump administration is preparing to redirect resources of the Justice Department’s civil rights division toward investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants." Not only Sessions disinterested in preserving Civil Rights, by stripping funding and repurposing it in this fashion, Sessions is proactively eliminating Civil Rights. 

This litigation being threatened by Sessions is a clear abuse of power. As the chief law enforcement official, Sessions is expected to understand the parameters of legal mandates established by the Supreme Court. Rulings of the Supreme Court are final until the Court reverses its decision or an act of Congress. As it relates to admission standards for institutions of higher learning, the Court has ruled. 

Credit: Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

A few years ago in Fisher v. Texas, the Supreme Court held that the University of Texas was within its rights to incorporate race for admissions decisions. This was permitted, so long as their policies meet a "standard of strict scrutiny to determine whether the policies are 'precisely tailored to serve a compelling governmental interest.' If the policy does not meet this standard, race may not be considered in the admissions process." After Abigail Fisher's second failed attempt to have the Supreme Court intervene and rule in her favor, Fisher, was dubbed "Becky With the Bad Grades."

In 1986, the Supreme Court ruled in Batson v. Kentucky, that a prosecutor may not exclude potential jurors based solely on race. This decision, known today as the Batson Rule, protects against the selection of juries with racial prejudice. When Jeff Sessions threatened colleges who incorporate affirmative action, his desired outcome was the reduction of admission denials for unqualified white applicants. This new DOJ policy should be known as the Sessions Rule. 

Note: despite the existence of the Batson Rule, prosecutors are trained on ways to skirt the rule. Batson only requires a prosecutor to identify a race-neutral reason for excluding a potential juror. Thus, prosecutors employ an endless array of deceitful tactics to engineer racially biased juries. 

Just as prosecutors are able to avoid a Batson charge by providing judges with faux race-neutral reasons for eliminating potential jurors of color, universities must exploit similar loopholes to justify their denials of unqualified white applicants.

Considering Donald Trump ran a campaign with a platform that appealed to the Klan and other white supremacist groups, this dismantling of Civil Rights, especially by Klan sympathizer Sessions, should not come as a surprise. Trump and his cabinet officials understand the importance of maintaining white supremacist excitement. Introducing policies like the Sessions Rule provides perfect cover to maintain their trust.

White college applicants benefit the most from a different brand of affirmative action. It is preposterous to believe they are somehow oppressed in 21st century admission processes. Receiving preferential treatment for legacy status (child, niece, nephew, etc., of an alum) is affirmative action. Receiving higher consideration for admission because a parent or family friend is a major donor, is affirmative action. Receiving additional consideration because an applicant participates in an obscure extracurricular like under water rhythmic gymnastics, is affirmative action. 

White America has turned a blind eye to affirmative action that benefits them. Outside of the blatant hypocrisy of denying colleges the autonomy to incorporate race as a factor for college admission, it's bad policy. Affirmative action policies in college admissions ensures a student body has the opportunity to learn from and interact with individuals from diverse backgrounds. Instituting this new Sessions Rule would create racially homogeneous campuses more closely resembling college campuses under Jim Crow.  

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