FROM Roger Clegg
Trump budget would minimize civil rights across federal agencies Civil rights aren't just the province of the Department of Justice. Other parts of the government have offices to deal with related issues, too. The Washington Post is reporting that the Trump Administration wants to reduce anti-discrimination programs in several departments: Labor, Education and the EPA. Opponents call it part of a war on civil rights. Supporters say it's cost cutting in the name of efficiency on the way toward what they call "colorblind government."
Will Voters Be Kept from the Polls…Again? Last year, the US Supreme Court ruled that key parts of the Voting Rights Act, signed by Lyndon Johnson in 1965, had outlived their usefulness. By a five to four majority, the court lifted burdens imposed on states with histories of discrimination in voting. Almost immediately, North Carolina, Texas and other states passed Voter ID laws, cut short early voting and eliminated same-day registration. The Court also invited Congress to update the Voting Rights Act. Are those needed protections against voter fraud or a return to the past? Is there evidence of renewed hardship for minorities, the elderly or women voters? Voter ID warning outside the polling station of Ward 1 in Nashua, New Hampshire, 2013 Photo by Mark Buckawicki
Partisan Politics and the Administration of Justice Last year, the Boston Globe reported that former Attorney General John Ashcroft changed the process for hiring new attorneys for the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division , which handles sensitive issues, including racial discrimination, employment opportunity and voting rights. The potential for political interference in the division is greater than in other areas of federal law. In previous administrations--Democrat and Republican--career jobs had been handled by civil servants. Ashcroft assigned that task to political appointees, a move that has reportedly changed the division dramatically. Now the focus is on the current Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales , who is headed back to Capitol Hill to answer some controversial questions: Have federal prosecutors been hired for their legal experience or their Republican leanings? Were legal cases either filed or ignored because of their likely influence on close elections that determined the balance of Congressional power? We hear from Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Charlie Savage and Justice Department veterans on both sides of issues that go to the heart of Constitutional democracy.
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.
White House budget proposal slashes and burns President Trump's first budget request is considered dead on arrival in Congress — a familiar development in Capitol Hill. We hear what it reveals about the priorities of the new administration. What's likely to die… and what might survive?
The Trump agenda: where's the beef? President Trump says big things are happening. After celebrating a House bill on health care, he doesn’t yet have Senate agreement. With James Comey’s public testimony scheduled tomorrow, the President today tweeted his selection of a new FBI Director. Is the Chief Executive all style and no substance? Later, terror attacks in Iran and conflicting claims about who’s behind them.