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Law Quadrangle (formerly Law Quad Notes)

Abstract

Professor Sallyanne Payton began her academic career at Michigan in 1976. She formerly served on the White House Domestic Council staff and was chief counsel to the Urban Mass Transportation Administration in the U.S. Department of Transportation.

I am grateful for an opportunity to respond to Professor Graham's very stimulating and informative paper. Professor Graham's central insight, as I understand it, is that the Nixon administration's civil rights policy. was characterized by theoretical inconsistency and some political opportunism. The "policy'' included a federal commitment to enforcing affirmative action, at the same time that it included the encouragement of a constitutional amendment against busing. It included both a vigorous effort to help Sou them school districts dismantle their dual schools systems and opposition to legislation that would have vested cease-and-desist enforcement powers in the EEOC. The Nixon administration created the Office of Minority Business Enterprise while attempting to weaken the Voting Rights Act. There was the Philadelphia Plan, but at the same time President Nixon made two attempts to place a Southern conservative on the Supreme Court of the United States. On balance, the record cannot be characterized as "liberal," but neither can it be thought of as ''conservative," certainly not in the sense in which the nation has experienced a purer conservatism under the Reagan administration. Professor Graham argues that the Nixon record is, taken as a whole, "incoherent/' and that what Nixon administration officials lacked was "an enunciation of Republican principles to guide their policies."

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