An independent watchdog group on Friday approved an investigation of civil rights enforcement in the Trump administration, saying it has "grave concerns" about signals coming from federal agencies — calling out comments by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in particular.
The 6-2 vote by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights approving the statement calling for a two-year review followed a dispute between two commissioners over the language that calls out DeVos. That language cites that the Education secretary's "repeated refusal in Congressional testimony and other public statements to commit that the department would enforce federal civil rights laws" is "particularly troubling."
The commission, an independent body authorized by Congress, serves as a watchdog on civil rights issues but has no authority to force a change in the government.
Commissioner Gail Heriot, a political independent and law professor at the University of San Diego, said the line about DeVos was "utterly over the top" and sought unsuccessfully to have it removed.