WASHINGTON — Assistant Atty. Gen. William Bradford Reynolds said Friday that the push to preserve preferential hiring quotas "mocks those courageous civil rights leaders" of the 1960s who sought no more than equal treatment for blacks and women.
Reynolds, the Reagan Administration's chief civil rights enforcer, said Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Roy Wilkins, along with Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, never envisioned that affirmative action would mean preferential treatment for certain classes of people.
Reynolds, who has been accused by current civil rights leaders of trying to turn back the clock on rights advancements, made his remarks in a speech to be delivered to the University of Chicago's chapter of the Federalist Society.
"We stand with pride alongside those great Americans . . . who advanced the civil rights agenda of the 1960s under the banner of colorblindness and equal opportunity, not racial preference and proportional representation," Reynolds said in the speech, released by the Justice Department.