Uncivil Liberties

The United States Commission on Civil Rights has degenerated into an appendage of the Clinton reelection campaign through its attempt to stop, through intimidation, the petition drive in Florida to clamp down on illegal immigration; at stake are 25 electoral votes for the Democratic incumbent. The commission was established under the Civil Rights Act of 1957 as an independent, bipartisan, fact-finding agency of the Executive branch. Under the Civil Rights Act of 1983, its membership was expanded from six to eight commissioners, four of whom are appointed by the President and four by Congress, with the caveat that not more than four members shall, at any one time, be of the same political party. The President designates the chairman and vice chairman from among the commission's members with the concurrence of a majority of the members.

In September 1993, President Clinton designated Mary Frances Berry as chairman and Cruz Reynoso as vice chair. Berry, a lifelong liberal Democrat and civil rights activist, now identifies herself as an independent. Having served as Assistant Secretary for Education in the Carter administration, she was named vice chair of the commission for a two-year term by Jimmy Carter in 1980 and has served as a commissioner ever since. In 1982, Berry coauthored a book in which American blacks are encouraged to consider Marxism, for "subjected to a massive barrage of propaganda from the American newsmedia,...

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