What is the Commission on Civil Rights?
The Commission on Civil Rights is an independent government agency of the United States Federal Government responsible for investigating, reporting on and subsequently making recommendations concerning civil rights issues that face the nation.
The Commission on Civil Rights, as an organization, is composed of eight Commissioners; four of which are appointed by the President of the United States, two by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and two by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
The Commission of the Civil Rights was created by the Civil Rights Act of 1957, which was formally signed into law by then President Dwight Eisenhower. The legislation was enacted in response to a recommendation by an ad hoc President’s Committee on Civil Rights. Following the formation of the ad hoc committee, a permanent organization was created and subsequently re-organized and re-configured by the passing of the United States Commission on Civil Rights Acts of 1983 and 1991 and the Civil Rights Commission Amendments Act of 1994.
When created, the first responsibility of the Commission on Civil Rights was investigating the presence of racial discrimination in voting rights in Montgomery, Alabama. As a result of their functions and general responsibility, the Commission on Civil Rights is often referred to as a “Civil Rights Watch Dog” that in essence, aims to ensure that the federal government is enforcing civil rights laws fairly and evenhandedly.
How is the Commission on Civil Rights Organized?
The Commission on Civil Rights, as stated before, is run by eight commissioners who serve six-year staggered terms. To keep a bipartisan feel no more than four Commissioners of the Commission on Civil Rights can be of the same political party. In addition, neither the two Senate appointees nor the two House appointees may be of the same political party.