Ten-Year Check-Up: Have Federal Agencies Responded to Civil Rights Recommendations?

Volume I: A Blueprint for Civil Rights Enforcement

Dissent Statement

Ten-Year Check-Up: Have Federal Agencies Responded to Civil Rights Recommendations?

We, the undersigned, voted against the approval of this report on July 19, 2002, for the following reasons.

Development of Federal Civil Rights Policy and Litigation

The report develops a Checklist for Evaluating Federal Agencies’ Civil Rights Enforcement that calls for involvement of special interest advocacy groups in the development of federal civil rights policy and litigation. Recommendations 1.3, 2.1, and 6.7 specifically call for the extensive engagement of advocacy groups in the development and enforcement of federal policy. Recommendation 3.9 calls for the inclusion of advocacy groups in the litigation process. Although it is important for civil rights agencies to understand and interact with affected communities, it is inappropriate for the federal government to defer to special interest groups in crafting federal policy or planning litigation strategy. Accordingly, we oppose any and all of the recommendations contained herein that advocate such an approach.

Burden on Federal Recipients

Recommendation 4.3 suggests that agencies require recipients to submit data annually on program participants and beneficiaries. This recommendation is based upon the flawed premise that progress can be demonstrated by raw numerical data. In fact, requiring recipients of federal funds to report on the number of “affected peoples” present in a particular program does little to end discriminatory practices and, indeed, might even encourage unlawful behavior. This recommendation also creates another layer of red tape that has the potential of discouraging applications to the federal government. To encourage a broad and diverse population of recipients of federal funds, we should not add to their burden with useless demands.

This dissenting statement respectfully submitted by,

Jennifer C. Braceras, Commissioner
Peter N. Kirsanow, Commissioner
Abigail Thernstrom, Commissioner

July 29, 2002