Washington, DC- Wade Henderson, Executive Director, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), issued the following statement today regarding President Bush’s recess appointment of Gerald A. Reynolds, to the position of Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the Department of Education.
“The Leadership Conference believes a President is ordinarily entitled to deference in his choice of executive branch appointees. However, after careful review of Mr. Reynolds’ record, we concluded that his hostility to the laws and policies that he would be charged to enforce overcame this presumption for several reasons. Mr. Reynolds holds extreme positions on many civil rights issues; has minimized the pernicious effects of racism and discrimination; is hostile to the use of affirmative action; and has opposed the disparate impact standard, a key civil rights tool used by the Department of Education.”
The LCCR opposed the nomination of Mr. Reynolds because his positions on education policy at the Department of Education are inconsistent with longstanding principles of civil rights law, and would diminish equality of educational opportunity for millions of Americans.
The Bush Administration’s decision to recess appoint Mr. Reynolds is troubling because it occurred despite a pending Senate vote and strong opposition by civil rights, education, disability, and women’s organizations. “The Administration must have very little confidence in Mr. Reynolds. Why else would it submit a recess appointment after the nominee has had a hearing and when a vote was scheduled in committee soon after Congress returns?” stated William L. Taylor, Vice-Chair of LCCR.
In the interests of equality of educational opportunity for all Americans, we hope that Mr. Reynolds will support and faithfully enforce the letter and the spirit of our laws fairly while serving as Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights. We will support him when he does, and be vigilant in pointing out the shortfalls when he does not.