Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

November-28-00

The Right's Stealth Tactics - Part II

Today, he heads up the American Civil Rights Institute (ACRI), a national group that works on similar efforts in other states.

Many of today’s new-right legal activists met up in the Reagan and Bush administrations: Bill Bennett, Linda Chavez, and IJ’s Clint Bolick, to name but three. In 1981, Bennett was Reagan’s pick to head the National Endowment for the Humanities, Chavez was the staff director for the U.S. Civil Rights Commission; Bolick came on later to work for Clarence Thomas when Thomas directed the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission. The civil and women’s rights movements had forced the passage of landmark laws, such as the Civil Rights Act, the Equal Pay Act, the Equal Employment Opportunity Act, and various affirmative action programs. Believing that much of this legislation was an “overreach” by the federal government into state affairs, the Reagan/Bush crew worked to defang the government agencies that were charged with enforcing those laws.

Many of the same former Reaganites carry on the mission in the states, where activists propose measures like California’s anti–affirmative action proposition (Prop 209) and its voucher initiative (Prop 38).

Consider Linda Chavez, for example. It was in 1983 that Ronald Reagan tapped her for the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. There, she took positions against affirmative action and mandatory busing and for limits on Title IX (the federal law that prohibits discrimination in federally funded educational programs). In 1996, she went to the state level and supported Connerly’s Prop 209 initiative.

We need laws that say you can’t discriminate,” Chavez said recently. “But we don’t need government agencies to engage in social engineering.” In other words, we need to remove the “Whites Only” sign over the door, but we don’t need to help people walk through it, which is what she believes is behind tools like affirmative action.

Chavez is president of the Center for Equal Opportunity (CEO), one of the new right’s key advocacy groups. CEO describes itself as a “nonprofit research and educational organization that focuses on civil rights.” In fact, CEO specializes in publicly scrutinizing institutions that might be “discriminating” in favor of women or minorities. The group demands admissions and contracting statistics from state agencies and public universities, then holds high-visibility press conferences when they find what they assert is bias—for example, outreach to inner-city communities or scholarship programs for minority groups or women. “With each [CEO] study,” says Chavez, “school systems and university trustees get more concerned,” because CEO threatens lawsuits.

And there are plenty of lawyers who will sue. Perhaps the most radical are those with the Center for Individual Rights (CIR). In 1999, CIR’s scare tactics came to fruition when Boston College forcibly “retired” their most famous professor—feminist Mary Daly—because a male student threatened to sue the school, with CIR’s help, over Daly’s women-only class. The same group successfully defended Connerly against the ACLU and others who claimed Prop 209’s language of “civil rights” was deceptive. CIR also challenged the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in the U.S. Supreme Court.

In that case, Brzonkala v. Virginia Tech, CIR represented two college football players who allegedly raped Christy Brzonkala in a dorm room. CIR’s attorneys argued that the provision of VAWA that permitted women to sue their attackers in federal court was an overreach by the federal government into state affairs. In response to the many amicus briefs submitted by the states in support of the VAWA provision, Ann Coulter, a former CIR attorney, asked if that w

Media Resources:


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1. The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
 
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case. UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
 
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall. The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies. Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .