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Rights Commission's Critique Clarified

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Clarence H. Pendleton Jr., a black Republican from California named earlier this year by President Reagan to chair the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, received kudos from the media and several civil-rights organizations recently for criticizing a recent U.S. District Court decision that would severely limit the scope of a federal law barring sex discrimination in education. (See related story on this page.)

But at least one member of the federal civil-rights watchdog agency that he presides over says that the letter bearing Mr. Pendleton's signature does not necessarily indicate that he is straying from the Administration's position.

Mary F. Berry, a Carter Administration education official who was later appointed to the commission, pointed out that in sending a pair of strongly-worded letters to the Secretary of Education and the Attorney General protesting the court's decision on Title IX, Mr. Pendleton was following the common practice of writing on the commission's instructions and behalf. She added that Mr. Pendleton's recent appointment to the commission is the only one that President Reagan has been "able to get through so far" and said his views on the commission are in the minority. If and when the President's other appointments are approved, she said, "that may change."

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