The New York Times, January 5, 2021, Justice Dept. Seeks to Pare Back Civil Rights Protections for Minorities
The Trump administration has embarked on an 11th-hour bid to undo some civil rights protections for minority groups, which could have a ripple effect on women, people with disabilities and L.G.B.T. people, according to a draft document, in a change that would mark one of the most significant shifts in civil rights enforcement in generations.
The Justice Department has submitted for White House approval a change to how it enforces Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits recipients of federal funding from discriminating based on race, color or national origin. The regulation covers housing programs, employers, schools, hospitals, and other organizations and programs.
Under the change, the department would continue to narrowly enforce the law’s protections in cases where it could prove intentional discrimination, but no longer in instances where a policy or practice at issue had a “disparate impact” on minority or other groups.
Civil rights groups say that the disparate impact rule is one of their most important tools for showing discrimination because it takes into account patterns of behavior that can seem neutral and compare outcomes for different groups to reveal inequities. Such cases make up most discrimination litigation, as businesses and organizations rarely disclose that they are purposefully engaging in the practice.