THIS is more like it. After two appointments to civil rights positions in the administration that have evoked strong criticism, President Reagan has nominated Clarence Thomas for chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Mr. Thomas, a black conservative Republican lawyer, is now assistant secretary of education. William M. Bell, the president's first choice for the EEOC chair, offered neither the experience nor the administrative credentials that should be minimal prerequisites for the important position. The decision to withdraw his nomination is a sound one.
Last week, there was another bad nomination--that of the Rev. B. Sam Hart to the Commission on Civil Rights. Rev. Hart's initial comments to the press suggested that he does not begin to have the temperament or the broad compassion for all those who suffer from discrimination that are necessary in the civil rights commission post.
The appointment of Mr. Thomas to the EEOC is a welcome break in this pattern. While many civil rights leaders would not agree with his positions on busing and affirmative action quotas--he opposes both--there is agreement that he is able and well qualified to run this agency.
His proposed solution for racial problems in our society may not coincide with those proposed by more familiar civil rights leaders, but he knows from his own experience that there is a real problem, and he has decided in his own conscience that he wants to help resolve it.
The president is entitled to seek to fill posts in his administration with those who share this philosophy. This nominee appears to be qualified for high office in other respects as well. He is a graduate of Yale Law School, a former assistant to Sen. John C. Danforth and the holder of an important position in the administration. In these posts he has developed legal and administrative skills that are an absolute necessity in running an agency with 3,000 employees and a $100 million budget. Mr. Thomas' nomination is an indication that the administration can change its mind on these matters in a useful way. We hope it will now reconsider the appointment of Rev. Hart.