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Movement on Reynolds

The White House sent paperwork to the Senate last week that officially nominates Gerald A. Reynolds to become the assistant secretary for civil rights.

Although President Bush announced the selection on June 25, the choice had been in limbo since then.

That caused some Washington insiders to speculate that the White House might withdraw the name. Mr. Reynolds, a Kansas City, Mo., lawyer, has drawn some criticism from Democrats and advocacy groups for his views on affirmative action and civil rights laws.

Last week, Education Department spokeswoman Lindsey Kozberg said the department was merely waiting for the FBI to complete the background check required for all such political appointments.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, the Massachusetts Democrat who chairs the Senate committee that considers education nominees, has expressed reservations about Mr. Reynolds' views. So far, no hearings on Mr. Reynolds have been scheduled.

Some observers speculate that Senate leaders could speed up the logjammed process of confirming presidential appointments to help sustain the spirit of unity that has taken hold in Washington since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Others say the Senate instead might delay consideration for the same reason.

And Mr. Reynolds' views might come under further scrutiny in light of the attacks, because the civil rights office could face a spate of complaints of discrimination against Arab-American and Muslim students.

One education advocate said the groups that oppose Mr. Reynolds still expect he will be confirmed.

"This is sort of in the category of [Attorney General] John Ashcroft—he's credible, we just don't agree with him," the source said.

As of last week, the Senate education committee had not yet received paperwork for Jack Martin, whom President Bush on July 9 said is his choice for chief financial officer.

—Joetta L. Sack [email protected]

Vol. 21, Issue 5, Page 27

Published in Print: October 3, 2001, as Federal File

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