Morning News Brief The Trump administration is undoing Obama-era guidance to schools on affirmative action. And, an update on last month's shooting of an unarmed black teenager in East Pittsburgh, Pa.
NPR logo

Morning News Brief

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/625890060/625890064" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Morning News Brief

Morning News Brief

Morning News Brief

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/625890060/625890064" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The Trump administration is undoing Obama-era guidance to schools on affirmative action. And, an update on last month's shooting of an unarmed black teenager in East Pittsburgh, Pa.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

President Trump is undoing another act of his predecessor. President Obama offered advice on how schools could use affirmative action within the law.

NOEL KING, HOST:

And President Trump's administration is retracting that. The Departments of Justice and Education say they are withdrawing guidelines to colleges and other schools. The Obama administration offered those guidelines to encourage racial diversity. The Trump administration says if schools are interested in diversity, they should be guided by the decisions of the Supreme Court.

INSKEEP: So what does this matter? Here to help figure that out is NPR's Sarah McCammon.

Good morning, Sarah.

SARAH MCCAMMON, BYLINE: Good morning, Steve.

INSKEEP: OK. So we have this retracting of previous advice. What does that say about the differing priorities of each administration?

MCCAMMON: Right. The Justice Department, you know, had already, previous to this, been looking into how schools use race in admissions, which has been a hot-point issue, a controversial issue for a long time. But more broadly, you know, this is in line with the Trump administration's view that President Obama was relying too heavily on guidance documents like this one that the Trump administration is pulling back from.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, you know, says in a statement that these documents were used to circumvent the rule-making process and says the Justice Department has identified about two dozen of these guidance documents to (inaudible), related not just to affirmative action but also to issues like home loans and employment and juvenile detention, among other things. So the affirmative action piece is getting a lot of attention, and it reflects a broader philosophical disagreement. But this is part of a longer list.

INSKEEP: Yeah. When you mention a broader philosophical disagreement, this is something that Republicans and Democrats have argued about for many years. Right? This isn't just about Obama versus Trump. This is a question about, what is colorblind admissions? What is fairness in admissions? How do you account for inequities in society? There are a lot of big questions at play here.

MCCAMMON: Right. And they've been in play for decades - centuries even, you could argue. And of course, you know, the argument on the right tends to be, whether it's college admissions or jobs, you know, look solely at a person's qualifications and decide based on that. On the left, it tends to (inaudible), as you say, correcting systemic imbalances and that diversity is an important factor. So you know, this has been playing out for a long time.

INSKEEP: Well, it is interesting that the Education Department, in announcing this change, said, hey, if you're concerned about this, if you're interested in what to do, look to the decisions of the Supreme Court which has upheld affirmative action in some instances.

How's the search for a new Supreme Court justice going?

MCCAMMON: Well, President Trump keeps meeting with potential candidates. Speaking in West Virginia last night, he said all of his candidates are brilliant like Justice Neil Gorsuch, who, of course, was his first appointment to the court. He says he's expecting another home run with this one. And in a certain sense, he's right, Steve. I mean, Gorsuch has been very popular with Trump's base. And there's a lot of push on the right for Trump to pick another conservative justice. That would, of course, face a lot of pushback on the left because Kennedy was the swing vote, and that would tip the balance of the court in favor of the right (inaudible), you know, a lot of people on the left are very concerned about.

INSKEEP: Sarah, thanks very much. Good talking with you.

MCCAMMON: Thank you.

INSKEEP: And happy Fourth of July. That's NPR's Sarah McCammon.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: All right. A police shooting of an unarmed black teenager in East Pittsburgh, Pa., has led to days of protests.

KING: Antwon Rose was shot in the back and killed while fleeing a traffic stop. He was 17 years old. A white police officer named Michael Rosfeld has been charged with criminal homicide in connection with Antwon Rose's death.

INSKEEP: Now, it's been a number of days since the charges were filed. But the protests have continued in the Pittsburgh area as people watch again and again a video showing that shooting. We're going to discuss this with Amy Sisk of member station WESA in Pittsburgh.

Good morning.

AMY SISK, BYLINE: Good morning, Steve.

INSKEEP: What is it that demonstrators are hoping to see?

SISK: Well, ultimately, demonstrators want to see the officer who shot Antwon Rose convicted and fired from his job. And they're trying to keep up the pressure and the attention on this case by demonstrating in the streets. So we've seen a lot of protests in busy intersections and major highways shutting down traffic.

But they're also calling for a bigger reform, particularly within the criminal justice system. For example, I have heard from people that they want to see consistent use-of-force policies and hiring procedures across all the various municipal police departments in the area. And I recently spoke about this with a man named Craig Thomas. He's from a Pittsburgh suburb, and he organized a walk through neighboring communities to remember victims of gun violence, including Antwon Rose. And here's what he told me.

CRAIG THOMAS: As a people, we talk about change and things. One thing's for sure is we definitely need to get people out and get them registered to vote. But we also need to become a part of the political process and setting up the candidates, deciding who runs, what's their agenda.

SISK: And I've heard similar thoughts to this from others in the black communities of Pittsburgh and the suburbs. And already, there's steps in that direction. For example, at protests I've been to, people have been registering to vote. And just this week, already a black lawyer has announced that he'll be running for district attorney.

INSKEEP: So bigger issues at play for some people who are protesting here. But of course, the prime focus is on this specific case. And would you review this for us? Many people have seen this cellphone video. But what is happening in that video? What do we see?

SISK: Yeah. So this happened on June 19. And it started in the evening. There was a drive-by shooting in a Pittsburgh suburb. And an East Pittsburgh police officer pulled over a car that was matching the description of the vehicle involved in that drive-by shooting. And while that officer was detaining the driver, there were two passengers that you can see in this video who tried to flee. Now, the officer shot three times at them, and he hit one of the passengers as he was running away. That passenger was Antwon Rose, the 17-year-old, and he died. Now, according to the district attorney, Antwon Rose was unarmed. And the district attorney says that he was not the one who pulled the trigger during the drive-by shooting.

INSKEEP: So we have a situation here where the police officer would have difficulty saying that he was in any personal danger because the suspects were running away from him. Right?

SISK: Yeah. Now, the officer has told investigators that he thought he saw an object, possibly, in Antwon Rose's hand. He's given conflicting statements as to whether he thought it was a gun or wasn't sure what it was that he was seeing.

INSKEEP: OK. And now the officer faces charges of criminal homicide.

Amy, thanks very much.

SISK: Thank you.

INSKEEP: That's Amy Sisk of Pittsburgh member station WESA.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: All right, soccer's World Cup is down to the quarterfinals - just eight teams still standing.

KING: And some of the games that got those eight teams there have been real thrillers. Take yesterday's match between England and Colombia. England won on penalty kicks after Colombia tied the game with a very late goal. And get this - Colombia fans were so riveted that when the match went into extra time, the airport in Bogota reportedly delayed all its flights so that fans could see how it ended.

INSKEEP: (Laughter) Acknowledging reality - they weren't going to get off the ground anyway. Sports Illustrated reporter, Fox Sports reporter, NPR reporter Grant Wahl is on the line.

Hey there, Grant.

GRANT WAHL: Hey, guys. How are you?

INSKEEP: OK. Having fun?

WAHL: I'm having a great time. This is the seventh men's World Cup that I've covered. And it is by far the craziest one I have ever covered. From the start, with the defending champion Germany going out, Argentina going out - Portugal, Spain. And now here we are with 8 teams left, and it's just been a real blast.

INSKEEP: Would you take a moment and just describe for us how all of those airline passengers in Bogota, Colombia, were ultimately disappointed? How was it that England triumphed against Colombia?

WAHL: I mean, this is how incredible this tournament is. England won on penalty kicks for the first time ever in a World Cup. We've come to associate England going out on penalty kicks in so many World Cups. And even after three rounds, Colombia was ahead. And it's very rare that you see in the final two rounds of a penalty kick shootout a team turn things around. But that's what England did. They converted under pressure. And here England is with a potential path to the final.

INSKEEP: OK. So when you look at the quarterfinals - when you look at the teams still standing, who's surprising? Who would you not have expected to be there?

WAHL: I mean, who is not surprising?

INSKEEP: (Laughter).

WAHL: The only, you know, favorites here are Brazil, France - and that's really about it. England was a team that maybe could have gotten this far, you thought. Belgium, maybe; Uruguay, maybe. Croatia is a team that nobody really thought much of going into the tournament. They were probably the best team in the group stage. Russia with the lowest-ranked team in the entire tournament, they eliminated Spain. And somehow, they are here in the quarterfinal. And Sweden is a team that nobody really talked much about, but they've been very solid. And they're going to play England in the quarterfinal.

INSKEEP: I'm just curious, do people fill out brackets for the World Cup the way they do for the NCAA basketball tournament? And did yours look remotely like this?

WAHL: Well, mine are actually published publicly in Sports Illustrated beforehand. So it's a little bit of pressure. But I got 13 out of the 16 final 16 teams and felt good about that.

INSKEEP: Wow.

WAHL: But I (unintelligible) with Spain, and they're out. You guys should have one - a pool in your office.

INSKEEP: (Laughter) I guess we should be paying a little closer attention.

So what's one thing to watch for going forward?

WAHL: Well, I think Brazil is the favorite here. They're going for their sixth overall title, which would give them the most ever. And Neymar is a player who is - emerging for many years now but can maybe make a case as the best player in the world.

INSKEEP: OK. Grant Wahl, thanks very much. Pleasure talking with you.

WAHL: Thank you.

INSKEEP: He's with Sports Illustrated and Fox Sports, covering the World Cup for NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF EVENINGS' "STILL YOUNG")

Copyright © 2018 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.