Bush administration removes critical report from website, replaces Civil Rights Commission chair

Friday, February 11, 2005

A report documenting the civil rights record of the Bush administration has been removed from the Commission's website. The report was submitted to the administration in December by a committee, chaired by Mary Frances Berry, who has served as chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights for nearly 25 years.

The report, Redefining Rights in America: The Civil Rights Record of the George W. Bush Administration described setbacks to a range of civil rights issues from policies that have further polarized communities. One week after Berry submitted the report, the Bush administration forced her out, announcing her replacement before she had actually resigned. The new chair, attorney Gerald A. Reynolds, was quoted in a New York Times article as saying he believed traditional civil rights group "overstate the problem" of racial discrimination. His appointment has been termed "a disaster" by NAACP Board Chairman Julian Bond.

In an exclusive interview with Tolerance.org February 9, Berry warns of further erosion to civil rights, with a weakened Civil Rights Commission unable to press the Justice Department to enforce the laws.