Monday, July 20, 2009

Civil Rights Enforcement

Received at work today, from our language-access team.

On Behalf Of (deleted)
Sent: Wednesday, July 15, 2009 7:39 PM
Subject: Message From USDOJ

Good evening:

There is a new memo from the U.S. Department of Justice
entitled, "Strengthening of Enforcement of Title VI of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964."

Here is the link to the memo from Acting Assistant Attorney
General Loretta King, chief of the Civil Rights Division,

As we have discussed previously, the memo further indicates
that Title VI and ADA enforcement will be more vigorous under
the Obama Administration than under its predecessor.

Here are two particularly interesting parts of the memo:
"Finally, I encourage you to submit to the Civil Rights
Division for litigation Title VI and other civil rights cases
that cannot be resolved administratively (i.e., when your
agency determines that informal resolution or fund termination
are not viable solutions). Even when an agency has made every
effort to resolve a case administratively, sometimes litigation
is necessary.
When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted,
the import of Title VI became clear relatively quickly. The
administrative power of Title VI -linking funding to
nondiscrimination proved to be as powerful as litigation,
particularly in the area of education desegregation. Why?
Because the federal government determined that Title VI had
powerful potential and worked boldly to ensure enforcement.
Although the context has changed, the need for vigilance and
for strong agency action to root out discrimination on the
basis of race, color, and national origin have not."

Sincerely, (deleted)

It is hardly surprising. The stereotype is that Democrats believe that civil rights violations are common and require vigorous enforcement, Republicans believe violations are less common and "vigorous" enforcement often veers into making mountains out of molehills and other unhealthy excesses. It may depend on what one calls common.

A third explanation, always possible in Washington, is that this is all for show - "the bull elephant trumpeting to the herd," as Garrison Keillor aptly put it.

No comments: