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DOJ withdraws high-profile discrimination suit against Yale University

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The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) withdrew its Trump-era lawsuit Wednesday against Yale University that alleged the Ivy League school was discriminating against white and Asian-American undergraduate applicants and violating federal civil-rights laws in the process.

The two-sentence notice filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court in Connecticut informed the court of the federal government’s “voluntary dismissal of this action.”

“The Justice Department has dismissed its lawsuit in light of all available facts, circumstances, and legal developments,” including a November federal appeals court ruling that Harvard University didn’t break federal civil-rights law, a spokeswoman said Wednesday, according to The Wall Street Journal.

After a two-year DOJ investigation, the lawsuit was filed in October and accused the prestigious university of violating civil rights laws for “at least 50 years” by using race-based, affirmative-action practices in its admission process that tipped the scale for Black and Hispanic applicants.

The DOJ’s investigation into Yale’s undergraduate admission policies that started in 2018, it should be noted, is still open. The department’s investigation was launched after a complaint was filed in 2016 by a number of Asian-American groups with the DOJ and Department of Education, notably spearheaded by the Asian American Coalition for Education.

Yale, which has defended its admission practices, was gladdened to hear the DOJ had withdrawn its lawsuit, spokeswoman Karen Peart said, per The Wall Street Journal.

“The Justice Department’s decision in August 2020 to issue the notice of violation unexpectedly and precipitously cut off an exchange of information that Yale looks forward to resuming,” Peart said. “Yale has steadfastly maintained that its process complies fully with Supreme Court precedent, and we are confident that the Justice Department will agree.”

While the U.S. Supreme Court has historically upheld race-based affirmative action, the three new conservative justices added to the court by former President Donald Trump has sowed worry that such admission practices are now in a precarious position.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Virginia Public Schools Reinstates Two Books Despite Complaints of Pedophilia and Pornography

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Fairfax County Public Schools has reinstated two books despite complaints from parents that the literature depicted and legitimized obscene and pedophilic material. Parents confronted the school board with the graphic images contained in the books beginning in September. Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) announced the books were restored to libraries after two committees reviewed them.

The books, “Lawn Boy” and “Gender Queer” have been determined by the District as helpful to the LGBTQ community. Fox News reports “Lawn Boy” by Jonathan Evison includes long sections of a boy reminiscing about explicit experiences he had at 10 years old. “Gender Queer: A Memoir” is by Maia Kobabe and includes photos of sexual acts between a boy and a man.

Virginia mother and president of Parents Defending Education, Nicole Nelly, told Fox News last week, “It’s appalling that Fairfax County’s response to parental feedback is to quibble over the definition of ‘pedophilia’ and to shame and denigrate families who are concerned about this material.”

“By attempting to normalize this content – and reinstating these books under cover of darkness right before Thanksgiving break – FCPS has demonstrated that in their eyes, parental input is a bug, not a feature, in the system” added Nelly.

In an interview with Fox News, Stacy Langton, one of the mothers who first confronted the school board, says “plenty” of Democrats and liberals are also calling her to say they “don’t want their kids exposed to this in school…this is FCPS coming out and explicitly saying they are in favor of porn in schools for your children.”

FCPS, however, claims that two committees comprised of school administrators, librarians, parents, and students determined that the books did not contain pedophilia, nor did they violate regulations by including obscene material.

“The decision reaffirms FCPS’s ongoing commitment to provide diverse reading materials that reflect on our student population, allowing every child an opportunity to see themselves reflected in literary characters” said FCPS in a released statement.

“Both reviews concluded that the books were valuable in their potential to reach marginalized youth who may struggle to find relatable literary characters that reflect their personal journeys” the statement continued.

Michael Sabbeth, Colorado attorney and author of “The Good, The Bad & The Difference: How to Talk With Children About Values” says “the Board’s assertion cleverly employs a logical fallacy—a strawman argument.”

While the board’s “refutation alleges the material affirms students with ‘marginalized identities’ and acknowledges the ‘difficulties nonbinary and asexual individuals may face’, their justification ignores and fails to negate allegations of obscenity, pornography and or pedophilia” states Sabbeth.

“Ironically, the Board’s justification demeans those it alleges to support. If, for example, pedophilia is in a book, arguing it helps youngsters is morally beneath contempt. To virtuously support those individuals, the Board need do no more than advance this unambiguous message: Treat all people respectfully” Sabbeth concludes.

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