Civil Rights Leaders Call for Close Scrutiny Of Gonzales Nomination

Media 11.29,04

Washington – More than two dozen national civil rights leaders, expressing serious concern with President Bush’s nomination of Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General, today asked Senators on the Judiciary Committee to closely scrutinize Gonzales’ record in several key areas.

In a letter to Senator Orrin Hatch, Judiciary Committee Chairman, and Senator Patrick Leahy, the Committee’s Ranking Member, the civil rights leaders said that “nowhere is the Senate’s ‘advise and consent’ role in the review of a presidential cabinet appointment more important than in the case of Attorney General.” The civil rights leaders called on the Committee to conduct a “searching and thorough review of Mr. Gonzales’ record, his positions, and his future plans for the Justice Department.”

The civil rights leaders requested that the Committee examine four major areas of concern regarding the role played by Mr. Gonzales in:

  • Setting the administration’s policy on detention, interrogation, and torture;

  • Setting policy that required or encouraged the Defense Department and the CIA to cast aside laws and practices that would have prevented torture;

  • Formulating administration policies that undermine checks and balances that safeguard basic rights, and;

  • Shaping the overall civil rights record of the administration.

Additionally, the civil rights leaders asked the Committee to “determine whether and to what extent Mr. Gonzales plans to continue the policies adopted by Mr. Ashcroft on important matters of civil rights and civil liberties.”

The letter is attached and can be found at