Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. is reshaping the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division by pushing it back into some of the most important areas of American political life, including voting rights, housing, employment, bank lending practices and redistricting, says the New York Times. As part of this shift, the Obama administration is planning to revive civil rights enforcement against policies, in areas ranging from housing to hiring, where statistics show that minorities fare disproportionately poorly.
President George W. Bush’s appointees had discouraged such tactics, preferring to focus on individual cases in which there is evidence of intentional discrimination. To bolster a unit that has been battered by heavy turnover and a scandal over politically tinged hiring under the Bush administration, the Obama White House has also proposed a hiring spree that would add about 50 lawyers to the roughly 300 now there. The division is “getting back to doing what it has traditionally done,” Holder said.