Civil Rights Coalition Reacts to Nomination of Alberto R. Gonzales as United States Attorney General

Media 11.10,04

WASHINGTON – The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), the nation’s oldest, largest, and most diverse civil and human rights coalition, issued the following statement today regarding President Bush’s nomination of White House Counsel Alberto R. Gonzales to the position of United States Attorney General:

“President Bush’s nomination of Alberto R. Gonzales to be Attorney General of the United States is historic. Never before has a Latino been selected to serve as our nation’s chief law enforcement officer,” stated Wade Henderson, LCCR executive director. “In a country as diverse as ours, this appointment acknowledges the importance of both substance and symbolism in the selection of our nation’s highest offices. However, every candidate for such an important office must be evaluated based on his record, including whether he has a demonstrated commitment to the protection of civil rights and civil liberties.

“In his role as White House Counsel, Mr. Gonzales oversaw the development and implementation of policies related to the war on terror that raise significant human rights concerns. For instance, Mr. Gonzales issued a series of memoranda arguing that the United States need not be bound by its obligations under the Geneva Conventions during the military action in Afghanistan. We are also concerned by Mr. Gonzales’ role in the development of highly controversial legal memos justifying the use of torture during interrogations of al-Qaeda suspects.

“The Attorney General of the United States has the awesome responsibility to respect the rule of law and to ensure that the rights of all persons under the jurisdiction of the United States are equally protected. We look forward to a complete examination of Mr. Gonzales’ record during his confirmation process, as well as hearing his vision for the enforcement of the nation’s civil rights laws and protection of civil liberties.”