Bush admin guts civil rights

In the latest example of "compassionate conservatism, the Bush administration’s Special Counsel has stripped away civil rights protections for GLB federal workers. He acted based on his interpretation of 5 USC 2302(b)(10) which states

Because the statute doesn’t specifically state that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is illegal, this stooge has decided that gay federal employees have no recourse to remedy such discrimination. This despite the long-standing interpretation of this statute to bar anti-gay discrimination and an executive order issued by President Clinton formalizing that interpretation. An order that Bush in the 2000 campaign, by the way, pledged not to rescind. Of course there’s no need to rescind the order when his toady simply pretends like it doesn’t exist in the first place. Bizarrely, “homosexual conduct” (whatever that means) will continue to be protected under the statute. Which means that while a woman can’t be fired for having lesbian sex, that she has lesbian sex is proof that she’s a lesbian and she can consequently be fired.

I’m really trying to be outraged. I really am. But this horrible, lying, slime-sucking, evil-from-the-depths-of-hell administration has done so many things to provoke outrage I just don’t have any left. I have outrage fatigue.

November can’t come soon enough.

If the statute doesn’t specifically mention gays and lesbians as a protected class, wouldn’t a better solution be to remedy the legislation and thus remove interpretation from the party in power?

Because, you know, a party nominally committed to strict constructionism might take a less expansive view of the language than the previous administration.

If the law sucks, change the law, not the sheriff. There are no guarantees the next sheriff will be any better, or that you’ll be able to change this one.

Now this is a court case that can be pursued with confidence. Ultimately, it will be up to a court to decide, not the OSC.

I’ll lay you odds that almost any judge or appellate panel will laugh the government’s interpretation out of court. Governments aren’t like regular employers since anything the government does is “government action.” By conceding that the conduct has no adverse impact, the government is effectively admitting that it has no rational basis for discrimination.

To put it another way, a difference that makes no difference is no difference – and the government cannot now argue that being gay makes any difference to job performance. They might just as well fire people for having brown hair.

Previous sheriffs have all held the statute to protect gay and lesbian people.

The last sheriff removed interpretation from the table by issuing an executive order.

The current sheriff gave his word that he would not rescind the order.

His deputy functionally rescinded the order.

I’ll blame the fucking sheriff.

Wouldn’t you have more free time if you spent less of your life as an apologist for the unforgiveable?

Exactly. Now, we know that they can’t fire people for having brown skin because that protection is specifically listed in the law. Does the fact that one type of feature is listed mean that features must be listed to receive protection?

Hey Otto, I partially agree with you :D. While I think Bloch is technically correct (orientation is not a conduct) I don’t see why he would want to make an issue of it.

I wonder if you could provide links to some of your assertions, though. Those being that Clinton issued an executive order, and that Bush pledged not to rescind it. (I don’t see how Bloch can get around an executive order simply by changing his agency’s interpretation of a legal statute - I would think Bush himself would have to undo it).

(It appears from this link (the source of the story) that this is only an initial position, pending agency review. Also, from the Boston Globe, Bloch did not clear his actions with the White House.)

BTW, Truth Seeker, people can in fact be fired for having brown hair.

Clinton signs exec order banning gay bias (may have to click through a “not now” solicitation)

The order was issued May 1998, and within weeks Republicans started angling to repeal it. But of course that was before they were the party of compassionate conservatism.

Bush promises not to rescind order

This article (which I actually read offline in the real world) was what I was relying on in saying that Bush promised not to rescind the order. Other online sources don’t back that up with a public statement by Bush but I have no reason to doubt the word of the people who met with him. The article implies that none of the 12 plan to vote for Bush this year.

If you read the article, it seems pretty clear he’s making an issue of it because he’s a bigoted fucking asshole who enjoys torturing people he considers his inferiors.

I personally don’t like having things I hold dear teetering on the whim of an executive order, Otto. That’s why I think a legislative change is a better solution.

I’m not a blind apologist for the administration. I think this sucks. Hopefully, it’s a case of an underling getting too big for his britches.


Thanks for the links.

It would appear then that the interpretation of the statute and the executive order are not directly connected. The statute gives rights to anyone who is discriminated against (illegally). The executive order is merely an order to all federal employees, and does not confer any rights on the victims (presumably any supervisor who violates the executive order might face some consequences as a result, though). As your link says:

Bush has apparently kept his promise not to rescind this order, according to your second link. So apparently, anyone who hires fires or promotes based on sexual orientation would be in violation of an executive order and may have to face consequences (I frankly don’t know what the consequences are for violating executive orders) but the victim would not have the ability to enforce this at the EEOC due to Bloch’s new interpretation of the law.

This is the best that I can figure it. But I do think it is interesting that the articles about Bloch make no mention at all of the executive order, so it’s possible that I may be missing something.

This is not especially relevant but FWIW the article says explicitly otherwise.

The statute explicitly states that it doesn’t extinguish any other rights or remedies that the aggrieved party may have under other federal laws. So it doesn’t “confer any rights” unless you classify “has to have a good reason for firing someone” as a right. No one’s claiming that gays ever had any recourse to the EEOC under the statute or the executive order, except you, in error. Executive orders, unless in conflict with other federal law, are legally binding and may be used to clarify how a statute will be enforced. Clinton’s order was such a clarification. Bush’s flunky rescinding the interpretation is a weaselly way for to get around Bush’s promise not to rescind the order.

This guy’s been quietly laying the groundwork for this for a month and Bush has been silent on it, even in the face of a letter from several senators requesting that he state his position on rescinding Clinton’s order.

Your second sentence does not follow from your first.

Well I continue to claim this (I think they likely had under the statute, under the Clinton-era interpretation). Do you have a source to the contrary?

How about a cite for this? Your previous cite about the executive order made no mention at all of the law. It appears to have been a free-standing executive order.

As I said earlier, I don’t think this is possible. I think you would need an act by Bush to rescind an executive order. I think the source for your error here is your confusion above about the executive order being a clarification of the law. You may wish to rethink this.

Read the statute. There is no reference to the EEOC. Read the original story. The statute is enforced by the office of the Special Counsel, not the EEOC.


Clinton’s order was an amendment to a previous order, which itself was a statement of policy enforcement for the statute.

I’m not in error on this. I certainly hope you’re right that this weasel’s actions can’t override Clinon’s order (although given the weasel’s actions I would be less than sanguine as a federal employee that my discrimination complaint would be taken seriously). Unfortunately, given Bush’s open hostility toward gay people I don’t really picture him stepping up on this.

I got this impression from the Boston Globe article linked above, which references the EEOC. But regardless of who enforces it, the statute creates an enforceable right. The executive order does not create any rights for the employee, according to the article (as quoted above).

This is actually what I wanted a cite for, and it does not appear to be correct. Clinton’s order #13087 was an amendment to #11478, which appears to be a freestanding order. Also, according to your opening link, the law Bloch is interpreting was passed in 1978, while Executive Order # 11478 clearly predates it (it does not have a date in the link I posted, but it was modified as early as 1971, by EO #11590).


I really, really hate to be this cynical but I can’t help but wonder if it’s finally dawned on Bush that gays, and those who consider them full citizens, just might vote. This is the kind of thing that’s unsexy enough to fly under the radar of mainstream fundies.

Only because they couldn’t find a way to withold votes from gay folks before November, no doubt.

Still, cheerful news. :smiley:

previews Oh, hi TVeblen.