The NAACP Legal Defense Fund has accused the Carter administration of "contemptuously" ignoring a federal court order that the Department of Health Education and Welfare enforce desegregation laws in state-run vocational schools and schools for the handicapped in the South.
In a suit filed in U.S. District Court here Wednesday, the fund charges that HEW's Office for Civil Rights has deleted from this year's operating plan all efforts to bring the schools into a compliance with a 1973 order issued by U.S. District Court judge Judge Pratt.
The suit, which was filed by Joseph L. Rauh Jr. on behalf of the Legal Defense Fund, said Peter Libassi, the new general counsel of HEW, had confirmed that all enforcement plans had been dropped.
Rauh said he was a friend of both Libassi and of HEW Secretary Joseph A. Califano Jr. He said the fund would not have filed the suit "unless they had flatly told us that they were not going to do anything."
Judge Pratt's 1973 order directed HEW to enforce Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act with respect to state vocational schools and state schools for the handicapped "without unreasonable delay."
The suit fled Wednesday asks the court for a new order directing that HEW either compel the schools to desegregate by June of next year or cut off all federal support for their programs.
"Further intervention by this court is the only means for insuring HEW compliance with Title VI," the suit said. "HEW's complete default in this area, 13 years after Title VI was enacted, requires no less."
It was understood that HEW officials were studying the suit and that they had no immediate response to it.