US administration 'waging war on civil liberties'

By agency reporter
July 5, 2018

The United States Department of Justice announced on 3 July 2018 that it will rescind 24 guidance documents on a wide range of issues, including juvenile justice, housing discrimination, and racial discrimination in education.

Among the guidance rescinded was information on federal protections based on national origin, laws preventing someone from being denied opportunity based on their ethnic or cultural background. The guidance enphasised the seriousness and illegality of that discrimination and encouraged individuals to come forward and report violations. Another clarified under which circumstances juveniles could be held in adult jails and lockups, and what those conditions should look like. Others addressed reducing disparities in the juvenile justice system and the administration of school discipline. And a number of the documents rescinded address Fischer v. University of Texas, a case in which the Supreme Court decided that it is not unconstitutional for colleges and universities to consider increasing racial diversity of its student body in the admissions process.

Faiz Shakir, national political director of the American Civil Liberties Union, made the following response: “This move from Attorney General Sessions is a concrete signal that there is a war being waged on civil liberties from the highest levels of government. Guidance documents do not make law, but they do clarify and facilitate the law’s implementation.

“This is another attack by Sessions and President Trump on people of colour. Our chief law enforcement officer is dismantling structures that prevent racial discrimination in education, in housing, and in ensuring fair treatment of juveniles in our criminal justice system."

* American Civil Liberties Union https://www.aclu.org/

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