Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Faith-based inside baseball

Professor Friedman calls our attention to this op-ed by Carl Esbeck, one of the authors of the original charitable choice language in the mid-90s (when he worked with then-Senator John Ashcroft) and to a policy statement by the Department of Justice that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act protects the co-religionist hiring rights of any faith-based government contractor that wishes to assert them.

Interestingly, in his new book, original Bush Administration faith czar John DiIulio seems to regard this exemption as basically unconstitutional, despite the fact that the laws that served as the foundation and inspiration of his White House office, all signed into law by (the first) President Clinton, all contained language that extended the co-religionist hiring exemption found in the 1964 Civil Rights Act to faith-based government contractors. I can’t shake the feeling that DiIulio is doing a little rewriting of history in his otherwise generally admirable book.

Discussions - 3 Comments

DiIulio is essentially an old-fashioned and honest liberal. He also does not appear to have been a team player. According to a newspaper account, for example, DiIulio many times failed to return phone calls from the Bush campaign in the 1999-2000 cycle, when they were trying to sound him out about playing a role on this issue. I predicted to a friend in early 2001 that DiIulio would be gone from the White House within a year, and he was. Bush should have appointed a conservative for this "faith-based" thing. The idea that the item mentioned in this post is unconstitutional is simply laughable. No one who believes it, or even half-believes it, let alone says so, should be considered for any significant post in any Republican administration.

It is the Civil Rights Act itself that is unconstitutional. This guy is a constitutional illiterate.

Billy Bob

I think his characterization of what he opposes is less clear than that. Thus, for example, he doesn't seem to distinguish between the "ministerial exemption," which is constitutionally required, and the co-religionist hiring exemption, which was acknowledged in the 1964 Civil Rights Act and reaffirmed in the 1996 welfare reform law and other Clinton-era legislation.

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