Civil Rights

President Clinton's yearlong delay in naming a chief for the Justice Dept.'s Civil Rights Div. is causing turmoil and frustration in the key enforcement unit. Lawyers say a large numbers of Reagan-Bush holdovers are still in place and a lack of leadership has stalled initiatives. For example, staff attorneys want to file civil-rights suits in the case of several suicides-by-hanging in Mississippi jails. But the effort has been put on ice pending approval by a new civil-rights chief. Meanwhile, many fed-up activist attorneys have quit. The President is expected to name John Payton, top lawyer for the District of Columbia government, to the job. But his nomination is stuck: The Congressional Black Caucus wants a more experienced candidate.

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