Thursday, December 3, 2009

New GAO Report on Civil Rights Enforcement During the Prior Administration

CongressAccording to the New York Times, Congress will release a report today on Civil Rights enforcement during the Bush administration by the Government Accountability Office. The report is not yet up on the GAO's website, but I'll post a link when it is. Today marks the beginning of the first oversight hearing the House Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties will hold on civil rights enforcement. Video can be seen here.

It may not surprise many, but civil rights enforcement declined under the Bush administration. Here is an excerpt from the NYT article,

The 180-page report, obtained by The New York Times, is densely packed with statistics about civil rights enforcement by the division’s sections. The accountability office also examined a sampling of matters that were closed without further action, finding several cases — including the curtailed voter intimidation inquiry — in which supervisors rejected the recommendations of career lawyers to go forward.

The report represents a comprehensive review of the division’s litigation activity in the Bush administration. When compared with the Clinton administration, its findings show a significant drop in the enforcement of several major antidiscrimination and voting rights laws. For example, lawsuits brought by the division to enforce laws prohibiting race or sex discrimination in employment fell from about 11 per year under President Bill Clinton to about 6 per year under President George W. Bush.

The study also found a sharp decline in enforcement of a section of the Voting Rights Act that prohibits electoral rules with discriminatory effects, from more than four cases a year under Mr. Clinton to fewer than two cases a year under Mr. Bush.

Republicans will reportedly use this hearing as an opportunity to demonstrate that the current administration has politicized the office equally--just in a different way.


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