Senate Narrowly Confirms Catherine Lhamon to Lead Education Department’s Civil Rights Arm

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Catherine Lhamon volition instrumentality to pb the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights aft the Senate narrowly confirmed her assignment successful a party-line vote, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the 50-50 tie.

The Wednesday ballot came much than 5 months aft Lhamon was tapped by President Joe Biden arsenic the nominee for adjunct caput for civilian rights, a presumption she held nether the Obama medication from 2013 to 2016. The information was past stalled successful August pursuing a deadlock successful the Senate acquisition committee.

Lhamon is expected to play a cardinal relation successful the Biden administration’s overhaul of rules regarding Title IX, the national instrumentality prohibiting sex-based favoritism successful acquisition settings.

The Biden administration’s efforts see expanding Title IX protections to screen sex individuality and intersexual orientation, and perchance rolling backmost rules made by erstwhile Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who bolstered owed process rights of those accused of intersexual misconduct and constricted the scope of cases that colleges person to investigate.

Lhamon criticized the Title IX rule erstwhile it was finalized past year, saying it would nonstop colleges backmost to a clip erstwhile it was “permissible to rape and sexually harass students with impunity.”

The Democrats celebrated the confirmation, praising Lhamon arsenic a champion of civilian rights.

“With this confirmation, our federation has erstwhile again gained a champion who volition enactment each time to guarantee that our nationalist schools and institutions of higher acquisition go ever fairer and much just,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said successful a statement. “Catherine is 1 of the strongest civilian rights leaders successful America and has a robust grounds of warring for communities that are historically and presently underserved.”

The Republicans, however, find Lhamon’s grounds of starring the OCR troubling. North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr, the apical Republican connected the Senate Education Committee, accused Lhamon of “pushing a highly partisan, politicized agenda” during her tenure and “overstepping” her authority.

“She oversaw policies that led to hundreds of violations of students’ owed process rights, resulting successful much than 300 ineligible challenges,” Burr said in a property release anterior to the Wednesday vote. “When Secretary DeVos issued the Title IX regularisation connected field intersexual assault, Ms. Lhamon responded with inflammatory, divisive rhetoric that successful itself should beryllium disqualifying.”

“In her erstwhile tenure, she made it wide she believed her guidance to schools was ‘binding’ and she worked to enforce it arsenic though it were law,” Burr added, arguing that it was “inexcusable” for an unelected authoritative to not recognize the limits of her authority.

The incidental Burr referred to took spot successful a 2014 Senate hearing. When now-retired Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) questioned Lhamon connected wherever she acquired the authorization to dainty OCR guidance arsenic if they were binding, Lhamon replied that, “Well, with gratitude, you did erstwhile I was confirmed.”

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