FIRE rings Fifth Amendment alarm bells over nominee

FIRE rings Fifth Amendment alarm bells over nominee

FIRE rings Fifth Amendment alarm bells over nominee

A watchdog group that has praised Title IX regulations for protecting due process at colleges, in particular for young men accused of sexual assault, is warning that a political nominee threatens to roll back that constitutional right.

Back in 2020, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) praised the Trump administration for demanding colleges and universities improve student hearings on campuses to mirror a court’s due process protections as guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment. 

On many college campuses, administrators were accused of treating male students as guilty defendants, without a presumption of innocence and without an attorney present for a closed-door hearing, and that kangaroo-court like process was addressed by the Trump administration.   

Despite those demands from a year ago, Ryan Ansloan of FIRE says 62% of colleges and universities are not guaranteeing a student’s right to due process.

“Things we take for granted,” he explains, “are not consistently granted to students in non-Title IX misconduct proceedings."

What is concerning FIRE is Joe Biden’s nomination of attorney Catherina Lhamon for a top civil rights post within the U.S. Department of Education. She has served in that position during the Obama administration, where she was accused of enforcing Title IX in a manner that ignored due process.

Lhamon, ironically, is a former attorney for the far-left American Civil Liberties Union, which was known for showing up in courtrooms to ensure the due process of notorious defendants, from Klan members to death row inmates. 

In a story about Lhamon’s nomination, NBC News described it as the “latest example of the White House steering civil rights policy back toward the Obama administration's approach.”

Her nomination was expected to please civil rights organizations and advocacy groups for sexual assault victims, the story said, but it went on to predict Republican senators have not forgotten their concerns when the Obama administration “overreached” with its Title IX directives.