When Officials Clash

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The Reagan Adminstration justified its civil rights enforcement by claiming an electoral mandate to reduce government. The Administration employed an administrative strategy to fulfill this asserted mandate, illustrating the conventional wisdom that the strategy enhances political responsiveness. But responsiveness to popular will is one democratic value, while protection of minority rights another. In the case of the administrative strategy to enforce the law protecting civil rights of the institutionalized, career employees within the Reagan Justice Department reacted forcefully to the change in policy direction, believing their action was critical to protecting basic human rights because of the powerlessness of the affected group.

Holt examines how the Reagan Administration implemented its strategy of limited enforcement and the varied responses of the career employees, including internal and external criticism, mass departure, and even sabotage of some actions. A survey of careerists and interviews with both political and career employees provide detailed accounts of the clash that ensued. In addition to providing valuable information on how and when an administrative strategy can best be employed, Holt identifies some of the hidden costs of a tightly controlled bureaucracy. An apparently successful policy, which minimizes the involvement of experienced career employees, can have an adverse long term effect. A valuable study for all students and researchers of public policy formation and implementation, the contemporary presidency, and civil rights.

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Editorial Reviews

Focuses on the Reagan Administration's implementation and enforcement of the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA)<-->a textbook example of the use of an administrative strategy in the face of careerist resistance. Topics include the legislative history and provisions of CRIPA; the Reagan ideology; the enforcement of CRIPA by the Reagan Administration; the response to enforcement from those outside the Department of Justice (primarily Congress, stakeholders, and careerists); and the administrative strategy's impact on democratic governance. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknew.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275959975
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/30/1998
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

KAREN E. HOLT is Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs at University of Virginia.

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Table of Contents

1 Change and Conflict 1
2 The Evolution of CRIPA 13
3 Reagan Administration Ideology and the CRIPA Policy Preference 21
4 "Special" Litigation: CRIPA Enforcement During the Reagan Administration 33
5 Reaction from Without: Congress and Stakeholders 61
6 Reaction from Within: Careerists 81
7 Administrative Implementation of CRIPA 107
8 The Better Angels of Its Nature 119
App. A: Methodological Framework 127
App. B CRIPA Survey 137
App. C Summary of CRIPA Enforcement: 5/80-1189 147
References 163
Index 175
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