Keeping An Eye on Thomas Perez

Though Thomas Perez no longer looks like Obama’s pick for Attorney General to replace Eric Holder, it is necessary to keep a critical eye on his activities as Labor Secretary. In particular, Thomas Perez is the leading crusader of a notion called “disparate impact”, a concept which allows for charges of discrimination even when none has actually occurred.

Though the idea of “disparate impact” has been around in the business world for at least a couple of decades , it has been vigorously pushed into other sectors as well, particularly during Obama’s administration. This idea holds that “a defendant can be held liable for discrimination for a race-neutral policy that statistically disadvantages a specific minority group even if that negative “impact” was neither purposeful, foreseen, nor intended. In such cases, defendants can be forced to pay for harm caused not by their own actions, but by economic and statistical realities, even if beyond their control.”

Thomas Perez was particularly lucrative with disparate impact while serving as the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice, his position prior to joining Obama’s cabinet. National Review Online (NRO) covered some of Perez’s cases in recent years , noting that Perez “has applied that theory vigorously to force large settlements from financial companies even in cases where there was no evidence of actual racial discrimination”. In other words, employers can be sought after for violating the law, whether or not they actually did.
The White House in general, and Perez in particular, like disparate impact theory because it “sets a very low bar for proving discrimination. Under it, prosecutors need not prove intent, merely that minorities have suffered a disparate impact from some action”.

Perez also got involved directly in a court case which challenged “disparate impact” policy in housing, which had been accepted for review by the Supreme Court. While still in his role as Assistant AG, Perez personally flew to Minneapolis to negotiate a settlement, a move noted by the Weekly Standard, as Perez, “made a Supreme Court case disappear”.

Perhaps Obama passed on Perez to become the next Attorney General because he needed Perez’s talent for disparate impact to become more pervasive in labor law. As Labor Secretary, he has the ability to oversee all hiring and regulatory practices. Perez has already been charged with funding “union front groups known as work centers as an example of his bias”. As a “leader of the George Soros-funded Casa de Maryland illegal alien advocacy group, Perez lobbied for in-state tuition discounts for illegal alien students, driver’s licenses and tax-subsidized day labor centers.”

Perez successfully used disparate impact in the financial and housing sectors and now seems keen to expand its use in the labor world as well. He has indicated a key goal of “leveling the playing field” in labor, though it can certainly be argued-after 6 years of Obama – that the playing field is already tipped in favor of labor. Perez will certainly try to achieve his “leveling” through the use of disparate impact, because the burden to show lack of discrimination falls on the employer – meaning guilty until proven innocent. Perez has the ability to do significant damage in his role as Labor Secretary, which is perhaps why Obama wanted to keep him exactly where he is.

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