Leef’s latest Martin Center column focuses on new education civil rights official

George Leef writes for the Martin Center about the newly installed leader of the U.S. Education Department office that focuses on civil rights.

Last month, the Senate voted to confirm Kenneth L. Marcus as assistant secretary for civil rights in the Department of Education. The vote was 50-46, with not one Democrat supporting him—a point I will return to presently. In that position, he will head up the Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR).

This is the second time Marcus has held the post since he was “delegated the authority” to run OCR during the administration of George W. Bush.

During his career, Marcus, a University of California-trained lawyer, has also served as staff director of the United States Commission on Civil Rights and in 2011 founded the Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law. He has written about the problem of anti-Semitism, most recently a book entitled The Definition of Anti-Semitism.

Since Marcus clearly is well-qualified for the job, why the party line vote? Why were no Democrats willing to vote in favor of him?

The short answer is that Marcus does not hold with either the procedural or the substantive idea that the Democratic Party has embraced for the transformation of American education.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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