March 19, 2011

PROGRESSIVE: DoJ To White Male Bullying Victims: Tough Luck. “DOJ will only investigate bullying cases if the victim is considered protected under the 1964 Civil Rights legislation. In essence, only discrimination of the victim’s race, color, religion, or sex will be considered by DOJ. The overweight straight white male who is verbally and/or physically harassed because of his size can consider himself invisible to the Justice Department.”

UPDATE: Eugene Volokh emails with what I believe is a correct criticism:

I read the Washington Times story linked to in the post below, and it seems to miss the perfectly sound justification for the Justice Department’s position – it’s not clear that the Justice Department has the statutory authority to deal with non-race/religion/sex/etc.-based bullying, nor is it clear that such statutory authority makes sense as a matter of federalism. Enforcing the Equal Protection Clause, by making sure that states aren’t denying children equal education based on race, religion, sex, etc. is within the federal government’s Section 5 authority. But I’m not sure that protecting small kids is, at least under any sort of substantive more-than-rational-basis view of federalism. At the very least, it would be much more of a stretch, and, as I said, I’m not sure there’s any statutory basis for it in any event; so I would think that the Justice Department should be praised rather than condemned here. Or am I missing something?

I think that’s right, and I should have picked up on that myself — though I’ll add that given the history of this Justice Department, I’m not at all sure they’d even protect a straight white male who was bullied because of his race.

UPDATE: A reader emails:

The whole point that everyone seems to be missing is the creeping expansion of the Federal government into even the most minuscule events in our daily lives. Plus the whole bullying horseshit has to be one of the most pathetic attempts at a diversion of John Q Public’s attention from problems the present administration has absolutely no idea or competence on how to resolve.

It’s another political sleight of hand just like smoking was for Clinton. After all who will stand up and say “I support school bullying and think it should be expanded and supported in our public schools!” Well, aside from me, nobody. When are you people as a nation ever going to get your heads out? The fact that you and Volokh are even considering the legal technicalities and dicta of this pointless drivel shows how much Kool-Aid you people have been kicking back.

Well, if it were up to me there’d be about 50 lawyers at DoJ. But it’s not, is it?

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