Committee Chairs Condemn Trump Administration’s Attempt to Gut Civil Rights Act by Issuing Unlawful, Last-Minute Rule

Jan 12, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, House Committee on Education and Labor Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03), House Committee on the Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), and House Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) expressed serious concerns about the Trump Administration’s last-minute attempt to repeal anti-discrimination protections. Specifically, the Office of Management and Budget is pushing a secretive proposal through the rulemaking process without public input, as required by law.

 

The draft rule, which could be finalized in the coming days, would potentially make dramatic changes to weaken the enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VI currently protects against both intentionally discriminatory policies and practices as well as policies and practices that, while neutral on their face, have the effect of discriminating on the basis of race, color, or national origin.

 

“This Administration has previously expressed a desire to weaken civil rights protections by limiting the ability to bring and win disparate impact claims by those who face discrimination,” the Chairs wrote. “We are concerned that this draft final rule is one more effort to implement such limitations on Title VI claims, emboldening bad actors to engage in unlawful discriminatory practices. Because Title VI has such broad application, the impact of such a rule would have wide ranging consequences throughout executive agencies.”

 

In the letter, the Chairs note that this is not the first time the Trump Administration has attempted to weaken civil rights protections under Title IV of the Civil Rights Act.

 

In 2018, the Administration repealed a joint ED-DOJ guidance that was designed to address disparate school discipline practices that produce harsher punishments for Black students, boys, and students with disabilities. The Trump Administration claimed – without evidence – that the guidance contributed to the rise in mass school shootings. A GAO report later found no causal link between punitive discipline practices like suspensions and expulsions and school shootings.

 

The Chairs also express concern with the Administration’s failure to allow for public comment on the proposed rule, noting that a normal notice and comment period would allow for a more comprehensive review of proposed changes to such a historic statute. The Chairs request the full text of the rule, as well as justification for bypassing standard rulemaking procedure.

 

The full letter can be found here.

 

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117th Congress