A woman who wrote a 2005 book about the women who accused President Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct and ensured Hillary Clinton’s defense of a child rapist became a campaign issue, has reportedly been asked to lead a key federal civil rights office.
Candice E. Jackson, who describes herself in her book, Their Lives: Women Targeted by the Clinton Machine, as a “libertarian feminist,” could become the next acting secretary for the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights. Her appointment was first announced by her alma mater, Pepperdine University. Jackson posted on her personal website that she would be taking a position with the Education Department, but has not commented further since then.
Jackson, who currently practices law in Vancouver, Washington, said her law office would not be active and she would not practice law while she works for the federal government.
OCR has become responsible – more so in the past six years – for forcing colleges and universities to vigorously adjudicate accusations of campus sexual assault. The offices 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter required schools to use a low “preponderance of evidence” standard, even though it amounted to a new regulation that didn’t go through the proper notice-and-comment period. That same 2011 letter encouraged schools to restrict the due process rights of accused students by, among other things, suggesting cross-examination would re-traumatize alleged victims.
The Obama-era guidance also increased the number of investigations of schools that failed to comply with the new guidance document, under threat of the loss of federal funding. Each complete investigation has found something for which to fault the school, and OCR took the rare step of naming the schools under investigation before any conclusions were reached.
Jackson aided President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign by organizing the travel for three of Bill Clinton’s accusers to attend the second presidential debate. She was also reportedly paid $7,000 by Trump adviser Roger Stone to produce a video interview with Kathy Shelton, a woman who was raped in the 1970s (when she was 12 years old). Hillary Clinton defended Shelton’s rapist in court.
Jackson previously worked for Judicial Watch, an organization that uses Freedom of Information Act requests to shine a light on abuses of power by government and politicians.
Jackson has said little about how she might change OCR.
Critics of the current system would like to see her step back and reduce the burden on schools, while requiring institutions to provide accused students with their constitutional rights to due process. Proponents of the current system would hope she continues on the current path, perhaps even more aggressively.