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The President, the Senate, and the EEOC

There are five commissioner slots on the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. At the beginning of last week, only one was a Republican; three were Democrats, and there was one vacancy.  Last Saturday, on July 1, there opened up another vacancy, because this Democrat’s term expired.

What this means is that, if the two vacancies are filled quickly, we could have a 3-2 Republican majority; if they are not, we will have a 2-1 Democrat majority. The EEOC enforces all the private sector antidiscrimination employment laws, so this is a big deal. Does the administration have anything in the works, or will it dawdle along?

I know there are lots of vacancies the President needs to fill. But the White House needs to understand that this is different. If the important job of heading the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Education is vacant, for example, it at least has an acting head who is a political appointee, and a department secretary who is a presidential appointee and is overseeing the office. That is not what we will have at the EEOC, which is alas a so-called independent agency that cannot be bossed around by the president — too bad, but at least for the time being, there you are — nor can the president appoint “acting” commissioners until permanent nominees are confirmed. Rather, this is analogous to there being a 4-3 liberal majority on the Supreme Court, free to do God knows what unless and until President Trump got around to filling those two vacancies and making the balance 5-4 the right way.

So nominating good people to the EEOC and getting them confirmed should be an administration (and Senate) priority.

I should add that the general counsel position at the EEOC, also appointed by the president and also a big deal, is vacant as well.

I sent a draft of the above to my editors at National Review Online last week, and then saw the announcement right after that on the White House website that day, announcing that the president had sent in a nomination for one of the two commissioner vacancies.  President Trump must have heard me typing! 

Seriously, it’s good but belated news that the president has nominated someone, but (a) the Senate now has to confirm that nomination, and (b) the president and the Senate still have the other vacancy to fill.  As of now, the 3-1 Democratic majority has become a 2-1 Democrat majority, but that can become 3-2 Republican majority.  Here’s hoping that takes place sooner rather than later.

More Math:  We Need at Least 315 Little Red Schoolhouses in Each District --  According to Education Week recently, “Students feel happier, more valued, and more motivated when they have a teacher of the same race and gender as them, a new study finds.” And, let’s see, it says here there are 63 genders.  As for races, I’m going to be very conservative, so to speak, and limit it to 5 (black, white, yellow, brown, and red).

You do the math.  Unless, of course, your math teacher didn’t match your race and gender, in which case no one can expect you to be able to do any arithmetic.

One More Thing -- Finally, here’s a memo we sent off last week.

To:       Board of Chosen Freeholders
            Essex County, New Jersey

From:   Roger Clegg, Center for Equal Opportunity
            Meriem L. Hubbard, Pacific Legal Foundation

Re:       Proposed “affirmative action” plan for contracting

We are writing with regard to the news story appended below.  We want to make clear at the outset that it is good to make sure contracting programs are open to all, that bidding opportunities are widely publicized beforehand, and that no one is discriminated against because of skin color, national origin, or sex.  To the extent that this is the aim of the new proposal, it is laudable.  Indeed, we praised an earlier proposal which we understood to be along those lines ….

But that means no preferences because of skin color, etc. either—whether it's labeled a "set-aside," a "quota," or a "goal," since they all end up amounting to the same thing.  Such discrimination is unfair and divisive; it breeds corruption and otherwise costs the taxpayers and businesses money to award a contract to someone other than the lowest bidder; and it's almost always illegal—indeed, unconstitutional—to boot (see 42 U.S.C. section 1981 and this model brief: http://www.pacificlegal.org/document.doc?id=454  ). 

We discuss in greater detail the problems with such discrimination in [another] memorandum, which we sent to another Atlantic coast community.  We urge that any program you adopt also be race-, ethnicity-, and sex-neutral.

Thank you very much in advance for your attention to our concerns.