The Civil Rights Division (Division) of the Department of Justice (DOJ) is the primary federal entity charged with enforcing federal statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, sex, disability, religion, and national origin. GAO was asked to review the Division's enforcement efforts. This report addresses the activities the Division undertook from fiscal years 2001 through 2007 to implement its enforcement responsibilities through four of its sections (1) Employment Litigation, (2) Housing and Civil Enforcement, (3) Voting, and (4) Special Litigation. To conduct our review, GAO analyzed data on cases filed in court and matters (e.g., a referral or allegation of discrimination) investigated. To supplement this analysis, GAO also reviewed a sample of closed matter files (about 210 of 5,400). GAO randomly selected matters investigated under different statutes for each section and considered the government role (e.g., plaintiff or defendant) and type of issues investigated (e.g., the nature of the alleged discrimination or violation) to ensure that the sample reflected the breadth of the work and practices of each section. While not representative of all closed matters, the sample results provided examples of why matters were closed. Additionally, GAO analyzed complaints and other relevant court documents for a comparable number of cases filed as plaintiff by each section, as well as DOJ documents, such as annual reports, that described the Division's enforcement efforts.
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