The Justice Department wants to change how it enforces civil rights law in a move that would remove protections for disadvantaged groups, the New York Times reported, continuing the Trump administration’s years-long bid to weaken civil rights law.
Photo taken on Oct. 20, 2020 shows the U.S. Department of Justice building in Washington D.C., the … [+]
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The proposed change would narrow the definition of discrimination under Title IV of the Civil Rights Act, only counting cases of provable intentional discrimination.
The rule would no longer include cases of “disparate impact,” or practices that are neutral on their face but disproportionately affect women, racial minorities, people with disabilities or LGBTQ people.
Jim Crow-era literacy tests are often cited as an example of disparate impact because they did not explicitly target voters by race, but the policies disproportionately affected Black people systemically excluded from educational opportunities.
The proposed rule was submitted on Dec. 21 and still has to be approved by the White House, but it wasn’t made available for public comment because the department argued it fell under an exception concerning agency loans, grants and contracts, according to the New York Times.
Neither the Justice Department nor the White House immediately responded to a request for comment from Forbes.
The Trump administration has tried to roll back protections to disadvantaged groups throughout the president’s first term. The Justice Department argued in an amicus brief that civil rights law doesn’t cover sexual orientation or gender identity. The Education Department rescinded Obama-era policies on affirmative action. The Department of Housing and Urban Development proposed a rule that would let single-sex homeless shelters deny transgender people services. And most recently, Trump discontinued diversity training at federal agencies. In these cases, the Trump administration has argued these protections go beyond the scope of the law.
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Civil rights groups will likely challenge the revisions, setting up a potential Supreme Court battle.