Support Thomas J. Perrelli for Associate Attorney General

Media 02.9,09

Recipient: Senate Judiciary Committee

Senator Patrick Leahy
U.S. Senate
433 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-4502

Senator Arlen Specter
U.S. Senate
711 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-3802

Dear Chairman Leahy and Ranking Member Specter:

The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the nation’s oldest, largest, and most diverse civil rights coalition, writes to express our support for the nomination of Thomas J. Perrelli to the position of Associate Attorney General of the United States. Mr. Perrelli’s broad and diverse experiences serving in the Justice Department and in the private sector ensure that he will bring a sense of perspective and integrity to this position. Moreover, Mr. Perrelli’s demonstrated ability to manage and oversee complex situations, his capacity to work cooperatively, and his background both in and out of the Department will enable him to restore independence and confidence to the Department.

Mr. Perrelli has a wealth of experience in both public service and private practice working to advance civil rights causes. From 1997-2001, Mr. Perrelli worked at the Department of Justice in various roles, including Counsel to Attorney General Janet Reno, overseeing the Civil Rights Division and serving as chair of the Indian Country Law Enforcement initiative; and Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Division, where he continued to work on issues important to the civil rights community, including the impact of the census on disadvantaged communities and the federal regulations governing an individual’s right to privacy in his or her own medical records. In 2001, Mr. Perrelli rejoined Jenner & Block, where he currently serves as Managing Partner. In private practice, Mr. Perrelli has been an advocate for voting rights, representing voters and public officials in redistricting cases in Texas, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania. In addition, he defended the First Amendment rights of his clients, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the American Society of Newspaper Editors, and others.

Mr. Perrelli is well-qualified to serve as Associate Attorney General, a position that will require him to assist the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General in formulating and implementing Departmental policies and programs pertaining to a broad range of civil justice, federal and local law enforcement, and public safety matters. As Deputy Assistant Attorney General from 1999-2001, Mr. Perrelli was in charge of the Federal Programs Branch of the Civil Division, which represents virtually every federal agency in complex civil litigation. In this role, he led a staff of 100 attorneys in defending federal agency action and regulations, representing the diplomatic and national security interests of the United States, and conducting significant Title VII, personnel, and Social Security litigation. During his tenure as Counsel to Attorney General Reno from 1997-1999, Mr. Perelli gained knowledge of a number of issues important to the civil rights community, including voting rights, racial profiling, police violence, and affirmative action.

Over the past eight years, the Department has been embroiled in scandal and controversy, and ideology has replaced commitment to the rule of law as its guiding principle. It is imperative that the Department be restored to its former position of integrity and competence. We are confident that Mr. Perrelli will work well with Attorney General Holder and Deputy Attorney General nominee Ogden to reverse these trends, and we urge you to support the nomination of Thomas Perrelli for the position of Associate Attorney General.

If you have any questions, please contact Lisa Bornstein, LCCR Senior Counsel, at [email protected] or 202-263-2856 or Nancy Zirkin, [email protected] or 202-263- 2880.

Wade Henderson, President & CEO
Nancy Zirkin, Executive Vice President