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Justice Dept. Touts Record for '87

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Washington--The Justice Department initiated a record number of employment-discrimination and criminal civil-rights cases during the 1987 fiscal year, according to a year-end report by its civil-rights division.

"In all, FY 1987 marked the division's most successful year in terms of civil-rights enforcement," said William Bradford Reynolds Jr., assistant attorney general for civil rights, in a statement accompanying the report.

The department secured 53 negotiated settlements and court orders in education-related cases, the report says, and continued to support the use of voluntary desegregation plans that rely on magnet programs to attract students of different races to integrated schools.

The success of the department's efforts in this area, Mr. Reynolds4said, "can be measured in part by the ever-increasing willingness of the school districts to incorporate magnets into their desegregation plans, by the willingness of the courts to approve plans that rely on magnets, and by the positive response of parents and students to the magnet schools."

The division's appeals section, which handles civil-rights litigation in all fields, obtained a decision in the federal government's favor in "nearly half" of the cases it argued before the Supreme Court and 81 percent of the cases decided by appellate courts, according to the report.

But the department achieved mixed results in its efforts to prohibit the use of racial quotas by public and private entities as part of affirmative-action plans, the report acknowledges. Under the Reagan Ad8ministration, the department has argued that such quotas constitute "reverse discrimination" against whites.

In a case filed against Starrett City, a private housing complex in Brooklyn, N.Y., the department obtained an injunction in a federal district court that "prohibits the use of racial quotas to achieve a predetermined level of racial integration," the report says.

But in two employment-related cases, Johnson v. Transportation Agency of Santa Clara and United States v. Paradise, it notes, the Supreme Court affirmed the use of quotas in hiring and promoting women and minorities.

The criminal section of the civil-rights division filed 58 new cases in fiscal 1987, many of which stemmed from racially motivated violence, according to the report.

The employment-litigation section, meanwhile, filed 29 new suits and obtained 28 consent decrees, resulting in awards of almost $3.5 million in back pay for victims of discriminatory employment practices.

Among the employment rulings, the report says, was a federal court's finding last May that the Pasadena, Tex., school district "had engaged in a pattern of purposeful racial discrimination against blacks in the recruitment and hiring of teachers."


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