Uncivil Libertiesrnby Greg Kayern-8S6«7*rnThe United States Commission on Civil Rights has degeneratedrninto an appendage of the Clinton reelection campaignrnthrough its attempt to stop, through intimidation, thernpetition drive in Florida to clamp down on illegal immigration;rnat stake are 25 electoral votes for the Democratic incumbent.rnThe commission was established under the Civil Rights Act ofrn1957 as an independent, bipartisan, fact-finding agency of thernExecutive branch. Under the Civil Rights Act of 1983, itsrnmembership was expanded from six to eight commissioners,rnfour of whom are appointed bv the President and four byrnCongress, with the caveat that not more than four membersrnshall, at any one time, be of the same political party. The Presidentrndesignates the chairman and vice chairman from amongrnthe commission’s members with the concurrence of a majorityrnof the members.rnIn September 1993, President Clinton designated MaryrnFrances Berry as chairman and Cruz Reynoso as vice chair.rnBerry, a lifelong liberal Democrat and civil rights activist, nowrnidentifies herself as an independent. Having served as AssistantrnSecretary for Education in the Carter administration, she wasrnnamed vice chair of the commission for a two-year term by JimmyrnCarter in 1980 and has served as a commissioner ever since.rnIn 1982, Berry coauthored a book in which American blacks arernencouraged to consider Marxism, for “subjected to a massivernbarrage of propaganda from the American newsmedia, few ofrnthem know about Russia’s constitutional safeguards for minorities,rnthe extent of opportunity, or the equal provision of socialrnservices to its citizens.” In 1986, she was honored by Ms. magazinernas one of its “Women of the Year.” Beltway sources revealrnthat she has a pipeline to friends Bill and Hillary Clinton.rnVice Chairman Cruz Revnoso holds impeccable liberal credentials.rnAmong his more radical affiliations are his havingrnserved as a board member of the Mexican American Legal Defensernand Educational Fund (MALDEF) and of the La RazarnLawyers Association. Reynoso also enjoys the dubious distinctionrnof being the first Associate Justice of the CaliforniarnSupreme Court to be voted out of office since 1932. After a six-rnGreg Kaye writes from Haines City, Florida.rnyear stint, he was repudiated at the polls in 1986 because of hisrnradical agenda. An advocate of an “open borders” immigrationrnpolicy, he campaigned against California Prop. 187, and, inrninflammatory speeches, vilified proponents of immigrationrnreform. His close association with Hillary Clinton is well documented.rnThe statutory duties of the commission are to investigaterncomplaints that citizens are being deprived, for discriminatoryrnreasons, of their right to vote; to study and collect informationrnrelating to discrimination or a denial of the Constitution’srnequal protection clause; to appraise federal laws and policiesrnwith respect to discrimination or denial of equal protection; tornsubmit reports, findings, and recommendations to the Presidentrnand Congress; and to issue public service announcementsrnto discourage discrimination or denial of equal protection ofrnthe law.rnSome political pundits have portrayed the commission as anrnindispensable aid in healing the wounds caused by official segregationrnpolicies and in creating awareness leading to efficientrnenforcement of our current federal civil rights laws. Critics, onrnthe other hand, point to the commission’s fervor to find a racistrnunder every bed, its lavish expenditures of tax money, and itsrntendency to promote a liberal agenda at taxpayers’ expense. (Inrn1984, Mary Berry and fellow couneilmember Blandina Ramirezrnissued a joint statement, quoted in Jared Taylor’s book PavedrnWith Good Intentions: “Civil rights laws were not passed to protectrnthe rights of white men and do not apply to them.”)rnAttorney Rob Ross of Boca Raton, Florida, who recentlv sufferedrnthe abrogation of his civil rights via heavy-handed tactics,rnviews the commission as “one of the last bastions of unabashedrnliberalism. It may have served a legitimate purpose in the past,rnbut it’s now degenerated into a political tool of the Clinton administrationrnand the Democratic party’s extreme left wing.”rnCongress appropriated $9 million to the commission in thisrnyear’s budget. Although the commission requested $11 millionrnfor next year, the House has cut the allocation to $8.5 million.rnThe “official” biographies of the commissioners present a politicalrnprofile of two Democrats, three Republicans, and three Independents.rnA more accurate assessment would be along ideo-rn24/CHRONICLESrnrnrn