Rights Chief Defends Record in Confirmation Hearings
Washington--William Bradford Reynolds, chief architect of the Reagan Administration's civil-rights policies, defended himself last week against attacks by Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee who hope to block his promotion at the Justice Department.
Mr. Reynolds would assume the department's third-highest position if his appointment is approved by the Senate after the confirmation hearings that began last week. In his new job, he would oversee all noncriminal matters, including civil rights.
The committee, composed of 10 Republicans and eight Democrats, is expected to vote along party lines to approve Mr. Reynolds's nomination.
During two days of questioning, Democrats on the panel harshly3criticized Mr. Reynolds's stewardship of the department's civil-rights division. He responded to the charges by outlining his rationales for opposing mandatory busing for desegregation purposes and the use of quotas in affirmative-action plans.
Mr. Reynolds was also questioned about his role in the development of the Administration's legal position in Bob Jones University v. U.S., in which the government unsuccessfully argued before the U.S. Supreme Court that the Internal Revenue Service had no authority to deny tax-exempt status to racially discriminatory private schools.
In a statement characteristic of those made by other Democrats on the panel, Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts claimed that Mr. Reynolds "has been the architect of most, if not all, of the Admin-istration's retreats on civil rights."
"In my view, Mr. Reynolds has done enough damage to civil rights at his current level in the [department], and he does not deserve to be promoted," Senator Kennedy said.
In the nominee's defense, the committee's chairman, Senator Strom Thurmond, Republican of South Carolina, said: "Mr. Reynolds possesses the knowledge, good judgment, and experience to serve in an exemplary manner as associate attorney general. I firmly believe he is committed to equal justice for all Americans."
"Mr. Reynolds has served with honor, integrity, and distinction," added Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah. Under his "stewardship, the United States is closer today to the ideal of equal protection under law for all citizens."