A Declaration of Independence

Conservatives change the course of a federal panel

For a brief moment last week it seemed that the members of the new Commission on Civil Rights might banish whatever bitterness they harbored from last year's skirmishes and stand together. The commissioners answered Democrat Walter Mondale and others who criticized them as puppets of the Reagan Administration with a blunt statement: "The commission belongs to no one . . . and will serve no political ideology or special interest. That is the meaning of our independence. It is uncompromisable."

That promising display of solidarity, however, was soon overshadowed by a blitz of controversial decisions...

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