Monday, June 22, 2009
Duran, Klausner Reappointed to Civil Rights Advisory Committee
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Los Angeles sole practitioners Percy Duran and Manuel S. Klausner have been reappointed to the California Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
Duran, who has been a member of the committee for eight years, said Friday he accepted reappointment because the committee “brings to his attention issues that the public is not aware of.”
A former Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund official and ACLU board member, and onetime California Rural Legal Assistance attorney representing farm workers, Duran said the election of President Obama offers “a new day” and an opportunity to reverse what he called a conservative drift on the commission.
Four of that body’s eight members are appointed by the president, and four by congressional leaders of both parties, so six of the current eight members were appointed by then-President George W. Bush or were recommended by Republicans in Congress.
Terms are staggered, so President Obama will not be able to immediately replace the Bush appointees. But Duran said he was “hoping to see radical changes and activity from the commission” eventually.
The California committee is one of 51 that the commission appoints—one for each state and one for the District of Columbia. Members serve for two-year terms. The committee has no enforcement powers, but can issue reports on issues within its jurisdiction.
Duran cited prison reform, immigration, and police practices as matters on which the committee has been active. “Officials can take some action if they are in tune with” the committee’s findings. “Unfortunately, it doesn’t always happen.”
Klausner has served on the committee for more than two years, and said Friday he accepted reappointment because he has “a longtime interest in civil rights.”
He comes at his service from a different perspective than Duran. He is a longtime activist on the libertarian right, was a founding co-editor of Reason magazine, and has devoted years of work to promoting such groups as the Libertarian Law Council and the Federalist Society.
He also serves as general counsel to the Individual Rights Foundation, which is associated with conservative activist and media critic David Horowitz. His recent activities, he noted, have included co-authorship of an amicus brief supporting white New Haven firefighters who are seeking to be promoted over the objections of city officials, who concluded that a dearth of successful black applicants left the city open to a suit alleging bias in the promotional exam.
The case, Ricci v. DeStefano, was recently argued in the U.S. Supreme Court, and Klausner said he is “cautiously optimistic” that the firefighters will prevail. The case has received additional notoriety because Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor was a member of the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel that ruled in favor of the city.
Other members of the California panel appointed last week are Luis A. Alejo of Watsonville, James A. Bolton of Pasadena, Sharon L. Browne of Davis, Jack Citrin of Berkeley, Marc L. Dollinger of San Rafael, John L. Dodd of Tustin, Thomas J. Gray of Culver City, Gail Heriot of San Diego, Joe R. Hicks of Los Angeles, Lance T. Izumi of Sacramento, Sanford A. Lakoff of San Diego, Karen Joy Lugo of Riverside, Leonard W. Mitchell of Santa Monica, Velma K. Montoya of Los Angeles, Matthew A. Rosenthal of Los Angeles, and Maimon Schwarzschild of San Diego.
Montoya, an educator and economist who was a UC regent from 1994 to 2005, was named chair.
Copyright 2009, Metropolitan News Company