Teaching Case - Choosing an Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights (Part B)

Choosing an Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights (Part B)


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  • Product Description

    These cases describe the political challenge faced by Bush administration Attorney General Richard Thornburgh as he sought to identify a nominee to head the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department. The case allows for discussion of the interplay between executive action and the political environment as defined by active interest groups. Specifically, the A case sketches the history of hostile relations between organized civil rights groups and the Reagan administration, hostility which shaped the political environment confronting Thornburgh, who was influenced, as well, by the incoming president's promise of a "kinder, gentler" approach to governance. The A case raises the question of whether Thornburgh can reconcile Republican views on civil rights with the vocal activism of influential civil rights interest groups. Should he name a nominee acceptable to those groups, or identify another nominee-perhaps a handicapped rights advocate-who might redefine the office, yet still blunt the criticism of advocates? The B case details the eventual decision to nominate black Republican William Lucas and the controversy which the nomination engendered.

  • Other Details

    Publication Date: January 01, 1992
    HKS Case Number: 1160.0
    Case Author: Harvey Simon
    Faculty Lead: Philip Heymann
    Pages (incl. exhibits): 8
    Setting: United States
    Language: English
    _year: Older than 2000
    _pages: 1-15
    _geography: US & Canada
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