The D.C. government sometimes has more empathy for criminals than for their victims. In December 2007, the D.C. Council voted to turn ex-cons into a protected class.
Now, it turns out that serial rapists are roaming free in the District of Columbia, since “Three thousand untested rape kits are sitting in a warehouse,” and D.C. has not even set up its own crime lab to nab rapists and other criminals using their DNA.
The D.C. Council hasn’t done anything about that. But in December 2007, it voted to curtail employers’ and landlord’s freedom of association by banning job and housing discrimination against ex-cons, even though there’s a huge difference between discriminating based on someone’s skin color, and judging them based on the “content of their character.” Even the Washington Post opposed the bill, noting that it “would undermine public safety.”
A Washington, D.C. law called the D.C. Human Rights Act also bans employers, including ideological and political organizations, from using political affiliation as a hiring criterion, or even adopting neutral policies that have an inadvertent “disparate impact” based on such criteria (with a completely different, and radically broader, definition of “disparate impact” than federal law). Such mandates are of dubious constitutionality. Contrary to the D.C. Council’s apparent belief, the government’s power to ban employers from engaging in reasonable job-related “discrimination” is not infinite. See Nelson v. McClatchy Newspapers, 936 P.2d 1123 (Wash. 1997) (First Amendment barred application of state law holding newspaper liable for discharging reporter based on political activities).