influential reports on voting discrimination, school desegregation, fair housing, equal employment opportunity, and the administration of justice.
In the 1970s the policy agenda of the commission expanded and shifted to reflect the addition by Congress, the federal courts, and regulatory agencies of new protections and remedies. In addition to race, religion, and national origin the commission monitored discrimination by sex, age, and disability. In addition to nondiscrimination policies, the commission supported controversial affirmative action remedies, including school busing for racial balance, minority hiring preferences, "comparable worth" standards to reduce gender differences in pay, the Equal Rights Amendment, and "race norming" in employment test scores. By the late 1970s the commission was attacked by conservatives and Republicans as a "captured" agency serving the interests of liberal advocacy groups, especially African American, feminist, Hispanic, and Native American organizations.
Following the election of 1980 the Reagan administration attempted to replace sitting commissioners with appointees critical of "reverse discrimination." The result was a political battle during 1981-1982 that split the agency and damaged its credibility and effectiveness. In 1983 Congress compromised with the president, expanding the number of commissioners from six presidential appointees to eight, four of them appointed by the president and four by Congress. As civil rights policy has grown more complex in the 1980s and 1990s, constituency groups benefiting from enforcement policies have grown in number and competition for enforcement attention among protected groups has increased. As a consequence, the ideological clarity of civil rights disputes has become blurred and controversy over the Civil Rights Commission has declined.
Ball, Howard. "United States Commission on Civil Rights". In Government Agencies, edited by Donald R. Whitnah , pp. 130-133. Westport, Conn., 1983.
Dulles, Foster Rhea. The Civil Rights Commission, 1957- 1965. East Lansing, Mich., 1968.
Lawson, Stephen F. Black Ballots:Voting Rights in the South, 1944-1969. New York, 1976.
—HUGH DAVIS GRAHAM
The three fundamental purposes of civil service systems are to recruit qualified personnel, to compensate and develop members of the public's work force, and to provide a basic framework of guidelines and procedures for how the work force should be organized. Every modern nation assumes or legislates that the members of the civil service system should also be responsive to the wishes and demands of elected officials. These are straightforward responsibilities. They do not, however, reflect the real complexity of the civil service in modern nations. They most certainly do not reflect the complexity of the United States's federal civil service system.
To fully understand the reality of the federal system, it is necessary to know the evolution of the jobs and tasks performed by the civil service. Of equal significance, it is essential to understand the close, but always uncomfortable, relationship between the civil service—or merit— system and the political system that provides both its environment and its leadership.
It has frequently been argued that one of the enduring problems of the federal civil service is the failure of the Constitution to provide for its role in government. Quite clearly, the Founding Fathers visualized a more limited role for a professional service than that which has emerged after two hundred years. At the same time, they consciously divided responsibility for overseeing whatever that role might be. The president, as director of the executive branch, would have direct responsibility for the administration of government. The Congress, as holder of the purse strings, would also have responsibility, however: that of oversight and budgetary control. The arrangement was never the most comfortable of fits. Alexander Hamilton's view that the quality of government would be judged by its admin
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Publication information: Book title: A Historical Guide to the U. S. Government. Contributors: George Thomas Kurian - Editor. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1998. Page number: 115.
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