Story at a glance

  • The Justice Department has asked the White House for permission to remove certain civil rights protections for minorities, according to The New York Times.
  • The change involves the enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits recipients of federal funding from discriminating based on race, color or national origin.
  • The Trump administration has reversed several major protections for people of color and LGBTQ+ communities, among others.

"No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance," reads Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Weeks before leaving office, the Trump administration is trying to change how this regulation is enforced, reported The New York Times, which obtained a draft document of the changes. Former Attorney General William Barr submitted the change to the White House Office of Management and Budget on behalf of the Justice Department on Dec. 21, according to The New York Times, before leaving office on Dec. 23. 


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The proposed change centers around a key term: disparate impact. If enacted, Title VI protections would no longer apply in cases where the discrimination takes the form of a disparate, or different from others, impact on one particular group. 

The proposal argues that references to policies and practices having "the effect of" discrimination covers "a vastly broader scope of conduct" than the original statute, according to the draft document obtained by The New York Times. Civil rights advocates, however, note that if the effects of discriminatory policies are not considered, that leaves intentions — which are significantly harder to prove in court. 

"The change would be the Justice Department’s first substantial amendment to how it defines discriminatory behavior in Title VI since 1973, according to the draft document," reported The New York Times. 


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Published on Jan 06, 2021