Byron York points out that the Obama administration wants to put in charge of the Justice Department’s civil rights division a lawyer who believes businesses that refuse to hire convicted felons may be guilty of illegal race discrimination. Excerpt:
The Senate will soon vote on President Obama‘s nomination of former NAACP Legal Defense Fund official Debo Adegbile to head the Justice Department‘s Civil Rights Division. There are a number of reasons many Republicans oppose the nomination, most prominent among them Adegbile’s passionate and continued advocacy on behalf of Philadelphia cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal. But one objection to the nomination has received little public notice, and it involves a quiet but growing controversy over the issue of criminal background checks.
It’s not unusual for businesses to conduct a check before hiring new employees. If the check uncovers that the applicant has, say, a felony conviction in his past — well, that can put a quick end to the application process.
But Obama’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has ruled that the use of background checks in hiring is racially discriminatory. In 2012, the EEOC issued “guidance” to the nation’s businesses, citing statistics showing blacks and Hispanics are convicted of crimes at significantly higher rates than whites. Therefore, the EEOC ruled, excluding job applicants based on their criminal records would have “a disparate impact based on race and national origin.”
As York points out, the EEOC guidelines don’t have the force of law, but if Adegbile ascends to the Justice Department, he could apply the weight of the United States government against businesses who don’t want to hire felons, and who contend that refusing to hire felons is racist.
Occasions like this remind one why one tends to vote Republican, in spite of the Republican Party.