Our View: Abbott says no to another Obama administration overreach

The SE Texas Record Nov. 11, 2013, 5:12pm

You’ve got to feel compassion for an ex-con who’s struggling to find work and integrate himself back into society.

These days, finding a decent job is hard enough even without a criminal record. When choosing between two more or less equally qualified candidates, what employer wouldn’t prefer the one who hasn’t been to prison? 

Still, you’d think there’d be a law prohibiting certain kinds of felons from holding certain kinds of jobs.

It would be foolish, for instance, to allow a person convicted of sex crimes to work as a school teacher, or a convicted drug user to work for a pharmacy, or someone convicted of homicide to serve as a police officer.

Why put someone with a proven weakness in a situation of obvious temptation and risk jeopardizing the safety of everyone who comes in contact with him in his official capacity?

No, it just doesn’t make sense, and that’s why there is a law against it, at least in states like Texas where people haven’t lost their grasp of common sense.

Speaking of losing it, the sanctimonious do-gooders at the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have determined in a lack of wisdom that our state law prohibiting this practice is unfair to convicts. The EEOC has issued hiring guidelines that ostensibly prevent public and private employers in Texas from categorically excluding convicted felons for certain jobs.

“Once again, the Obama administration is overreaching its legal authority by trying to impose hiring rules on states that violate state sovereignty and – in this instance – endanger public safety,” Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said last Monday when announcing a lawsuit to block enforcement of the new guidelines. “Texas has an obligation to enforce its absolute ban on hiring convicted felons for certain jobs such as state troopers, school teachers, and jailers,” he said.

Abbott is right. Texas has an obligation to protect the sovereignty of our state from federal encroachments of this kind – especially from unelected bureaucrats masquerading as lawmakers.

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