Oppose “Compromise” Class Action Bill, S. 1751

Media 12.8.03

Recipient: U.S. Senate

Dear Senator:

On behalf of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), the nation’s oldest, largest, and most diverse civil and human rights coalition, with more than 180 member organizations, we strongly urge you to oppose the “compromise” class action bill crafted in the last days of this congressional session. This new bill will make the enforcement of civil rights laws more difficult.

LCCR believes that class actions are essential to the enforcement of our nation’s civil rights laws. They are often the only means by which individuals can challenge and obtain relief from systemic discrimination.

The newest compromise does not cure the fatal flaws of S.1751. The bill fundamentally undermines the longstanding practice of civil rights enforcement at the state level based on strictly state causes of action – laws that often provide more protection for victims of discrimination. There has been no record developed by the bill’s sponsors to support the need for such a drastic move.

Moreover, the bill’s deleterious effects are compounded by the damage done to general civil rights enforcement by clogging the overburdened federal courts with almost all class actions; and by placing additional burdens and barriers put on the settlement of class actions. The end result is not hard to see. Over-burdened federal courts will increasingly delay and dismiss suits to remedy discrimination, leaving no disincentive for corporations that do business in every state in the union to refrain from violating our civil rights and labor laws.

LCCR asks you to stand firm against this late-breaking compromise version of the class action bill. If you have any questions or need more information, please contact Nancy Zirkin at 202-263-2880.


Wade Henderson, Executive Director &

Nancy Zirkin, Deputy Director