(FamilyRetirementClub.com)- In a presidential election, candidates will be faced consistently with their past.
Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden is now facing a part of his past that includes voting to allow private schools that were racially segregated to keep their tax-exempt status.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Biden voted on multiple occasions to oppose the push for school desegregation from the federal government. The above one in question came in 1979, when he was one of 54 senators who voted in favor of keeping the “Dornan rider” in effect. That rider is a provision that barred the IRS from revoking the tax-exempt status of private schools that were segregated.
Many of these schools, which were often called “white flight academies,” began to pop up after the Supreme Court ruled in 1954 to integrate public schools.
At the time, Biden’s vote and position drew the ire of the ACLU as well as New York Senator Jacob Javits, who introduced the bill to do away with the Dornan rider. He argued at the time that private schools that were segregated “continue routinely to get tax exemption to which under law or morality they are not entitled.”
In a statement in the late 1970s, the ACLU said:
“Maintaining the Dornan amendments in the Treasury Appropriations bill would be a major blow to civil rights.”
And the Urban League said the rider “would stymie the first serious attempts by the IRS to enforce the law precluding tax exemptions for private schools which practice real discrimination.”
Biden also vocalized his opposition to desegregate public schools through a federal busing policy in the 1970s. He was one of the backers of an amendment that would have prevented the Department of Health, Education and Welfare from collecting information about the racial breakdown of schools.
That proposal failed, but Biden himself introduced a similar amendment afterward. He also sponsored or voted for various bills that were meant to restrict the Department of Justice from enforcing desegregation through a busing program, calling it an “asinine” policy on multiple occasions.
In regard to his opposition to busing, Biden said in a 1975 interview with NPR:
“There are those of we social planners who think somehow that if we just subrogate man’s individual characteristics and traits by making sure that a presently heterogeneous society becomes a totally homogeneous society, that somehow we’re going to solve our social ills. And quite to the contrary.
“I think the concept of busing … that we are going to integrate people so that they all have the same access and they learn to grow up with one another and all the rest, is a rejection of the whole movement of black pride.”
At a time when the Black Lives Matter movement is as strong as ever, Biden’s history with these topics may come back to bit him. Ironically, one of his potential candidates as a running mate — California Senator Kamala Harris — said his record on voting regarding busing and with pro-segregation senators was “hurtful.”