The Obama Justice Department: Colorblind?

by Roger Clegg

The Justice Department today announced that it has put an end to racially discriminatory selection practices in an Alabama district, where two highschools had black slots and nonblack slots for their homecoming queens and Valentine’s Day courts. 

The Department’s press release complained that the “schools consideredrace” and had “race-based selection criteria.” The release proudly declares that now, thanks to the Obama administration, the school district “will end the use of race-based election and selection criteria in allstudent activities.” After all, the release concludes, the Department must enforce “Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars public school districts, colleges and universities from discriminating against students on the basis of race [and] color . . .”

The quoted language in the preceding paragraph — culminating with a reference to the department’s duties here, not only with respect to “school disricts,” but also for “colleges and universties” — clearly sets the stage for the Obama administration to support colorblind admissions in public universities when it files an amicus brief with the Supreme Court later this month in Fisher v. University of Texas. After all, the administration cannot possibly be thinking of taking flatly inconsistent positions in the two cases. Can it?

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