Monday, December 30, 2002

Civil Rights Groups Renew Drive for Agenda in Congress (

"We are hoping this [the Lott controversy] has created a greater awareness and an opportunity to work with both Republicans and Democrats on human rights and civil liberties," said Nancy Zirkin, public policy director for the Leadership Conference. It "remains to be seen" whether lawmakers' attitudes have changed, she added.

Among the conference's goals, Zirkin said, are nomination and confirmation of judges committed to civil rights; inclusion of gays under laws on hate crimes and employment discrimination; a ban on racial profiling; expanded funding to carry out President Bush's school improvement program and the new election laws approved by Congress last fall; immigration law reforms and protection for laws guaranteeing equal access for women and girls in education and athletics.

The conference is also urging the Bush administration to support affirmative action in the University of Michigan case before the Supreme Court and will fight to prevent any cutback in minority contracting provisions in the huge transportation funding bill that will come before Congress next year.

It will be interesting to see if there is any action by Republicans on civil rights issues.

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