Thursday, June 15, 2017

Trump Administration Quietly Rolls Back Civil Rights Efforts Across Federal Government - ProPublica

Trump Administration Quietly Rolls Back Civil Rights Efforts Across Federal Government - ProPublica:

Trump Administration Quietly Rolls Back Civil Rights Efforts Across Federal Government

Previously unannounced directives will limit the Department of Justice’s use of a storied civil rights enforcement tool, and loosen the Department of Education’s requirements on investigations.

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For decades, the Department of Justice has used court-enforced agreements to protect civil rights, successfully desegregating school systems, reforming police departments, ensuring access for the disabled and defending the religious.
Now, under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the DOJ appears to be turning away from this storied tool, called consent decrees. Top officials in the DOJ civil rights division have issued verbal instructions through the ranks to seek settlements without consent decrees — which would result in no continuing court oversight.
The move is just one part of a move by the Trump administration to limit federal civil rights enforcement. Other departments have scaled back the power of their internal divisions that monitor such abuses. In a previously unreported development, the Education Department last week reversed an Obama-era reform that broadened the agency’s approach to protecting rights of students. The Labor Department and the Environmental Protection Agency have also announced sweeping cuts to their enforcement.
“At best, this administration believes that civil rights enforcement is superfluous and can be easily cut. At worst, it really is part of a systematic agenda to roll back civil rights,” said Vanita Gupta, the former acting head of the DOJ’s civil rights division under President Barack Obama.
Consent decrees have not been abandoned entirely by the DOJ, a person with knowledge of the instructions said. Instead, there is a presumption against their use — attorneys should default to using settlements without court oversight unless there is an unavoidable reason for a consent decree. The instructions came from the civil rights division’s office of acting Assistant Attorney General Tom Wheeler and Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Gore. There is no written policy guidance.
Devin O’Malley, a spokesperson for the DOJ, declined to comment for this story.
Consent decrees can be a powerful tool, and spell out specific steps that must be taken to remedy the harm. These are agreed to by both parties and signed off on by a judge, whom the parties can appear before again if the terms are not being met. Though critics say the Trump Administration Quietly Rolls Back Civil Rights Efforts Across Federal Government - ProPublica:

Image result for big education ape Trump Civil Rights
Image result for big education ape Trump Civil Rights
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