The Trump administration will tell top school officials to implement policies that do not consider race as part of their admissions process—reversing an Obama-era guideline that weakens affirmative action, the New York Times reports.
The Justice Department removed seven guidance documents from the Education Department’s civil rights division on Tuesday. Those guidances, implemented under the Obama administration, urged colleges to consider race-based admissions as a way to diversify its campus, The Times reports.
The Justice Department’s decision will reimplement guidelines set up by President George W. Bush’s administration that “strongly encourages the use of race-neutral methods,” per the Times.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions told the Department of Justice in November to re-examine policies that he felt reached beyond what the law, the Constitution and the Supreme Court asked for, according to the Times,
“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 told the Times on Tuesday.
Affirmative action is a hot-button issue in politics and has been upheld in the Supreme Court, largely in part to retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, who has upheld the policy in previous rulings.
Kennedy retires at the end of July, giving President Donald Trump the opportunity to nominate a candidate for the Court that could be in favor of rescinding the policy that has helped diversify colleges across the country.