So now we have a two year investigation by the Civil Rights Commission, which has zero enforcement authority by the way, into civil rights staffing levels in the new Administration. So what is the civil rights issue being investigated you might ask? There isn’t one and this one really smacks of politics…and in my opinion, here is what it is all about.
Per Wikipedia, “The eight commissioners serve six-year staggered terms. Four are appointed by the President, two by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and two by the Speaker of the House of Representatives. No more than four Commissioners can be of the same political party. In addition, neither the two Senate appointees nor the two House appointees may be of the same political party. With the concurrence of a majority of the Commission’s members, the President designates a Chair and a Vice Chair. The Staff Director is also appointed by the President with the concurrence of a majority of the Commissioners.”
Now take a look at the list of current commissioners:
Presidential appointees (2D, 2I):
Catherine E. Lhamon, Chair (D) – Former assistant secretary of education for civil rights (appointed by President Barack Obama, December 2016).
Patricia Timmons-Goodson, Vice Chair (I) – Former Associate Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court (appointed by President Obama, July 2014).
Debo P. Adegbile (D) – Partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr (appointed by President Obama, December 2016).
Karen Narasaki (I) – Consultant and former president and executive director of the Asian American Justice Center (appointed by President Obama, July 2014).
Senate appointees (1D, 1I):
Gail Heriot (I) – University of San Diego law professor; alternate delegate to the 2000 Republican Convention (first appointed by President Pro Tempore Robert Byrd, February 2007; reappointed by President Pro Tempore Patrick Leahy, December 2013).
David Kladney (D) – Lawyer in private solo practice in Reno, Nevada (appointed by President Pro Tempore Daniel Inouye, January 2011; reappointed by President Pro Tempore Orrin Hatch, November 2016).
House appointees (1D, 1R):
Peter N. Kirsanow (R) – Partner at Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Arnoff in Cleveland, Ohio; former member of the National Labor Relations Board (first appointed by President George W. Bush, December 2006; reappointed by Speaker John Boehner, 2013).
Michael Yaki (D) – San Francisco attorney and former member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors (first appointed by Speaker Dennis Hastert, 2006; reappointed by Speaker Boehner, April 2011; reappointed by Speaker Paul Ryan, January 2017).
Notice anything here? The party makeup of the Commission is four Democrats, three Independents, and one Republican. It appears that liberals have done the usual end-around of a law and in this instance, stacked the Commission with their buddies. Does anybody believe that the Independents are of the conservative persuasion? I’ll just say this…Look at Independent Bernie Sanders.
Now about the Commission’s whining over staffing levels…Tough! The President and Congress control the budget and if they believe that civil rights is over-funded or not the “issue of the day”, they can fund it and its staffing levels, as they see fit!
And my reaction? Congress should once again revisit the Civil Rights Act and consider either serious amendment or total repeal. Two years of wasted taxpayer money coming up for nothing but political grandstanding by liberals who cannot accept their continuing losses.
President Trump is under many microscopes right now.
Not only did he allude through a tweet on Friday that he is the subject of an internal investigation by special counsel, but on the same day, an independent federal agency commissioned under Congress also said “grave concerns” were prompting an investigation into federal civil rights enforcement within his administration.
The United States Commission on Civil Rights, a bipartisan agency charged with advising the president and Congress on civil rights matters, unanimously approved a comprehensive two-year probe into the “degree to which current budgets and staffing levels allow civil rights offices to perform” their functions within the administration, said the agency in a statement.
The federal watchdog group became concerned about the Trump administration after several agencies announced budget and personnel cuts in departments that oversee civil rights. The “proposed cuts would result in a dangerous reduction of civil rights enforcement across the country, leaving communities of color, LGBT people, older people, people with disabilities, and other marginalized groups exposed to greater risk of discrimination,” said the statement.
The commission, created under the Civil Rights Act and funded by Congress, expressed specific worry in seven agencies under the president, including the Department of Education and the Department of Justice.
The “repeated refusal” of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to commit to enforcing federal civil rights during Congressional testimony coupled with deep budget cuts within the agency’s Office of Civil Rights is “particularly troubling,” the agency added in the statement.
DeVos was asked during a Senate subcommittee hearing earlier this month whether discrimination against LGBTQ students in private school would be allowed.
While she did say “schools that receive federal funds must follow federal law,” she did not commit to banning discrimination, saying that area of law is “unsettled.”
The Department of Education did not return a request for comment by NBC News.
The commission also wants to look into the Department of Justice, which it says has completely changed its priorities.
“Actions by the Department indicate it is minimizing its civil rights efforts,” the statement said. “For example, a majority of the Commission criticized DOJ’s decision to site Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officers in courthouses as a dangerous impediment to access to justice for all Americans,” the statement said.
The investigation will also look into the departments of Labor, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Environmental Protection Agency and the Legal Services Corporation — which are all expected to slash budget and personnel that monitor civil rights.
While the commission does not have the ability to enforce the findings of its investigation, it will present the final report to Congress at the end of 2019. After that, it’s up to legislators to act.
“For 60 years, Congress has charged the Commission to monitor Federal civil rights enforcement and recommend necessary change,” said Catherine E. Lhamon, who chairs the Commission. “We take this charge seriously, and we look forward to reporting our findings to Congress, the President, and the American people.”