Biden wanted to make progressives happy. Last week, the Senate Education Committee held a confirmation hearing for a woman who has arguably done more than any other government official to fan the flames of America’s culture war: Catherine Lhamon. President Joe Biden has nominated Lhamon to return for a second stint as assistant secretary in the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. During her previous term, under former President Barack Obama, Lhamon transformed that office from a guarantor of statutorily defined rights into a forward operating base for coercing compliance with liberal social dogma.
Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, the ranking Republican on the committee, described Lhamon’s track record as “deeply troubling if not outright disqualifying.” But he and his colleagues seemed focused on fighting the last culture war — over Title IX and allegations of sexual assault and abuse on campus — rather than the left’s social crusade du jour: critical race theory.
To be sure, Lhamon’s track record on Title IX is worth scrutinizing. Under her leadership, OCR coerced colleges to adopt a new “preponderance of the evidence” standard for investigating sexual allegations on campus — a standard critics on left and right say creates a presumption of guilt. When President Donald Trump’s education secretary, Betsy DeVos, issued a regulation with a stronger emphasis on due process, even the liberal Washington Post editorial board admitted that DeVos got quite a bit right.