Civil and Human Rights Coalition: Dreiband Shows He is Not the Right Person to Lead Civil Rights Division

Categories: Civil Rights Enforcement, Judiciary, Nominations, Press Releases

For Immediate Release
Contact: Shin Inouye, 202.869.0398, inouye@civilrights.org

WASHINGTON – Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement on Eric Dreiband’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Dreiband is President Trump’s nominee to be Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division:

“We were deeply disappointed by Chairman Grassley’s decision to stack today’s hearings with four judicial nominees, including two circuit court nominees, and Mr. Dreiband. Senators cannot thoroughly examine nominees and their records when so many are jammed together. We urge senators to ask the important questions they were unable to ask due to time constraints today in their written questions for the record.

Eric Dreiband’s failure to directly answer many questions, including several about his record of undermining civil rights, raises serious concerns about his ability to lead the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice. The next Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights must be committed to enforcing laws that make America more fair and just – especially at a time when civil rights are under constant attack by the Trump-Pence administration and its allies.

We are especially troubled by Mr. Dreiband’s assertion today that he did not oppose the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act. The facts tell a different story. In testimony before the Senate in 2008, he testified under oath that “I do not believe that the bill would advance the public interest,” and that assumptions about the Supreme Court’s decision that were the basis for the bill were “not correct.” We urge senators to further scrutinize his conflicting testimony under oath and other exchanges from today.

Mr. Dreiband has spent his career narrowing the rights of marginalized communities. He would not serve as an adequate check on unconstitutional and discriminatory policies coming from Jeff Sessions’ Justice Department.

Senators have a constitutional responsibility to carefully study Eric Dreiband’s record and consider how he would lead the Civil Rights Division. Based on his performance today, they should conclude, as we have, that Eric Dreiband would fail to protect the civil rights of everyone, and reject his nomination.”

In August, nearly 80 civil and human rights groups sent a letter to senators urging them to oppose the confirmation of Eric Dreiband. More information on that letter is available here.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.