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Meese Appointment Sparks Criticism

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Washington--President Reagan's recent decision to nominate White House Counselor Edwin Meese 3d to replace William French Smith as attorney general received negative reviews from civil-rights lobbyists and education officials interviewed last week.

"In our opinion, Mr. Meese has been the de-facto leader behind the Administration's regressive policies," said Ralph G. Neas, executive director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. "All that this means is that he now becomes the de-jure leader."

According to political observers, Mr. Meese has played a pivotal role in the shaping of civil-rights policies that have had an effect on schools and colleges. He has been credited for Administration's decision to at-tempt to reverse the longtime government policy of denying tax-exempt status to schools that practice racial discrimination.

In addition, Mr. Meese represented the White House in negotiations with members of the Congress and civil-rights leaders last year over the future of the U.S. Commmission on Civil Rights.

Mr. Meese has also spoken out against the use of mandatory busing to address discrimination in schools and the use of racial quotas to remedy discrimination in employment.--tm

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