Greg Abbott: Obama Is Forcing Texas to Hire Convicted Felons as School Teachers

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Gage Skidmore
Last April, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued enforcement guidance No. 915.002, more commonly referred to as the "Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964." Few people paid attention.

One of those who did was Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who has now seized on the obscure directive as the basis for his landmark 30th lawsuit against the Obama administration. Then again, who's counting?

The suit argues that the EEOC is effectively forcing the state of Texas to hire convicted criminals. Here's the money quote:

See also: Greg Abbott Crowdsourced Ideas for "Making Texas Even Better," and They Are Wonderful

If state agencies choose to comply with the EEOC's interpretation, they not only violate state law, but also must rewrite their hiring policies at taxpayer expense. And these state entities also must begin evaluating and hiring felons to serve in law enforcement, teach in local elementary schools, nurse veterans and the disabled, counsel juvenile detainees, and coach little league. This would expose the entire State -- including, in particular, its most vulnerable citizens -- to a class of individuals who have a proven track record of disobeying the law.

The key word here is choose. The EEOC's directive is not a mandate but a voluntary guideline. As it explains in an FAQ, it is aimed at helping employers avoid legal liability by ensuring that their use of criminal background checks does not "disproportionally exclude people of a particular race or national origin," or that, if it does, that they can show their exclusion of felons is "job related and consistent with business necessity."

The EEOC says that bar is low, requiring an employer to consider the nature of the crime, how long ago it was committed and what job an applicant is seeking.

Abbott says the agency's investigations have shown otherwise. He cites various recent cases -- against Dollar General, BMW, Pepsi, and others -- in which the EEOC has used "abusive litigation tactics" to go after companies for refusing to hire felons.

He is particular concerned by language warning employers that the EEOC will challenge employers who use felony convictions as "an absolute bar to employment," as several Texas agencies do. To comply with the EEOC directive and avoid sanction, Abbott says those agencies will have to ignore state law and rewrite their hiring policies at taxpayer expense.

"Once again, the Obama Administration is overreaching its legal authority by trying to impose hiring rules on states that violate state sovereignty and -- in this instance -- endanger public safety," Abbott announced in a news release. "Texas has an obligation to enforce its absolute ban on hiring convicted felons for certain jobs such as state troopers, school teachers and jailers."

Others might argue that Abbott has an obligation to stop spending taxpayer money filing lawsuits against the federal government, but those people will be voting Wendy Davis for governor anyway.

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47 comments
nomaddan
nomaddan

Over-simplified BS for the red-neck minions.  Greg Abbot, Screw You.

Subnx
Subnx

The key is "disproportionately exclude". That will get you used since not hiring felons does disproportionately exclude certain minorities. The directive isn't voluntary with that language in it.

flippanttroll
flippanttroll

It was not enough that Rick Perry (or one of his other henchmen) burnt down the governors mansion!!! Tell me about Debt! You GOP Clowns!

xdarkridex
xdarkridex

I just adore all the kneejerk liberal idiots (including the author) who don't think for ten seconds and realize that, by automatically opposing everything Abbott does, they're advocating hiring felons for positions where felons are prohibited by state law.  They don't say a thing about Abbott's examples of recent EEOC lawsuits against companies refusing to hire felons, but somehow he's immediately wrong...or maybe hiring known felons to teach kids and become cops is a good idea?  Hilarious.  

Obummer
Obummer

Yo no matter; Abbott is going to be a good governor.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

what a publicity whore.

we should have a requirement that Abbott pay out of his pocket for the costs of all these lawsuits he files and ends up losing. all I see is his wasting our tax dollars in order to make himself look better to the lunatic fringe.

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

Heard Mr Abbott on the radio this week touting his contribution to Texas success in a growing GDP, increased number of businesses, increased number of workers. etc. etc.   But no one asked him why with all this success we're short on money for schools, short on money for road/highway repair, and have raid the "rainy day fund" for water supply improvement?

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, has proposed a Constitutional amendment that would apply the same rules to judges, lawmakers and White House officials that apply to the American people. The amendment (S.J.RES.25) says: "Congress shall make no law applicable to a citizen of the United States that is not equally applicable to Congress." Chances of Paul's proposal becoming the 28th amendment of the U.S. Constitution are remote. It would need both Houses of Congress to support it with a two-thirds vote before going to the states where three-fourths of the State legislatures would need to approve it. 

stickupyours
stickupyours

Wal mart wont hire a felon. Mcdonalds wont hire a felon.  this is ridiculous

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

How does an atty confuse may with must?

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Speaking of Abbott, Wendy Davis is only 5 points behind him in a recent poll.  The tide is turning, finally.

Cliffhanger
Cliffhanger

Well, given how Texas public schools are just a pipeline to prison anyway (allegedly) it makes sense we should have felons educating our future felons.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

Is the U.S. Congress still exempt from such regulation?  Does the Executive Branch hire felons, or do they exempt themselves?

CitzenKim
CitzenKim

How humorous is that he mentions "taxpayer money" as he invokes his 30th abuse of taxpayer money for his GOP primary campaign and to funnel money to his lawyer buddies.  

What is the Tea Party position on this government waste? 

ruddski
ruddski

" The EEOC's directive is not a mandate but a voluntary guideline."-- Government tends to not like their voluntary guidelines ignored.

G_David
G_David

I wish he would take up jogging or some other constructive activity.

lilbo989
lilbo989

@xdarkridex I am a convicted felon. I was convicted for burglary of a building in two states when I was in my early 20's. It has been about 13 years since I was last in trouble but you are saying I should not be allowed to teach or have certain jobs? I have a Bachelors degree in Technical Management and will have an MBA in March 2015. I have been in a professional career for the past 7 years or more. Who are you to judge me. Just because I made mistakes when I was younger does not mean I should have to pay for them the rest of my life. 

lindalaveck
lindalaveck

@xdarkridex I suspect you really don't read the content of articles you comment on. The federal law only says they must consider someone, what the crime was, how long ago it was, rather than just a blanket rejection due to the words felony conviction. It is not forcing the state or employers to hire felons as law enforcment or teachers. Way to skew the truth, you and Abbott.  If your brother were arrested and convicted for smoking pot, I guess you are all for him not being hired into any job solely on that conviction. Way to make him go out and become a criminal so he has a way to survive. 


scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@Obummer you should be concerned that he's more ideologue than pragmatist.  He's shunning centuries of legal wisdom, and from a lawyer, that's concerning.  He's an anarchist, and will prove as craven and self serving as Perry.  He's also a chronic hypocrite, opposing lawsuits like the one that enriched him, opposing the ban on pre-existing conditions in insurance--where he couldn't get insurance if he wasn't a gov't employee.  You're easily fooled. 

MisterMean
MisterMean

@holmantx have heard about the 28th amendment-don't think that he came up with that (Rand Paul) he plagiarized it from someone who has an original idea

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@holmantx doesn't the 14th already provide this stricture?  We don't apply it, but it's already law.  Don't you normally argue, enforce the laws on the books, don't make new laws?  Logical consistency is a bitch for sophists

roadsidecouch
roadsidecouch

@stickupyours Why should they?   In this Owebama economy they have plenty of applicants to choose from.  My Nephew graduated with a Masters in Accounting.  He tried for 2 years to get a job and then enlisted in the Navy.   

Felons are going to have a hard time getting any job as long as we have an anti business president who loves regulating businesses to death and encourages them to give part time jobs and not grow above 50 employees.

ruddski
ruddski

Obama and our own Myrna do it all the time in regards to the ACA.

ruddski
ruddski

Not "black folks", just young black males, the ones who frighten Jesse Jackson.

roadsidecouch
roadsidecouch

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz Well that is pretty good for Abortion Barbie.  Maybe she will lose by a smaller margin than Dems has lost in the past.  But until Abbot's commercials start.  

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@holmantx yes, but they usually get pardoned at the end of the executive's term

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@CitzenKim he gets the handicapped exemption, although his is physical, unlike the rest of them who are mental

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@ruddski no, there's no compulsion in this law.  Reading comprehension is not your strong suit

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@roadsidecouch our economy is down because of 30 years of low rates, Obama hasn't changed that, hasn't even so argued.  It's amazing how you forget that the economy collapsed under Bush.  Gov't is pro-big business, but, you don't have to be anti consumer/anti worker to be pro business.  

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@ruddski no, they're clear, we are mandated to get coverage.  I don't  support ACA but they're not confusing the compulsion in the law with choice.  

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@roadsidecouch

please, please keep on throwing out the label "Abortion barbie" as much as you can. the more your kind use it, the more competitive the election will become.

thanks for all your efforts....

ruddski
ruddski

Felons can serve in congress, according to factcheck.lib, which uses the convicted Republican Ted Stevens as an example. Oddly, factcheck has no update on the item mentioning gross prosecutorial misconduct or dismissal of conviction after that misconduct cost Stevens the election.

ruddski
ruddski

Scott, you're as dumb as a Pali. What is recommended by government quite often becomes not-so-voluntary. Get it?

LeroyJenkem
LeroyJenkem

@lolotehe @G_David Well, as it is, he's just a step away from screaming that his Daleks are the ultimate beings in the universe...

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@holmantx @scottindallas that is a meaningless objection.  ACA says employers must provide insurance, which Congress critters have.  So, what is it they're exempted from?  providing ins for interns?  Does any employer have to insure interns?  No.  This is the most vacuous objection ever

lindalaveck
lindalaveck

@holmantx the point is that it needs to be enforced rather than create a new law that may or may not be enforced.
 

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