Why It Matters Civil Rights

October 18, 2012 - 1:34 AM
FILE - In this June 11, 2012, file photo, Attorney General Eric Holder speaks at the League of Women Voters National Convention in Washington. What, exactly, is discrimination, and what should be done to fight it? This election offers choices on the answer. In areas such as mortgages, voter identification and immigration enforcement, the presidential candidates differ over how to use laws that guarantee equality and how far the Justice Department's civil rights division, which exerts strong influence on issues of race and ethnicity, should go to ensure all Americans are treated fairly. The election also will shape the Justice Department's actions in continuing court cases that challenge voter ID laws passed in some Republican-led states. Opponents contend such laws unfairly discourage minority voting. Under Holder, the Justice Department has used lawsuits based on statistics to hold banks' feet to the fire on how they lend money to Hispanics and black people. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)