10.05.17

Statement On Nomination Of Eric S. Dreiband To Be Assistant Attorney General For Civil Rights

Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
On Nomination Of Eric S. Dreiband To Be Assistant Attorney General For Civil Rights
Senate Judiciary Committee
Executive Business Meeting
October 5, 2017

I cannot in good conscience support the nomination of Eric Dreiband to lead the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division — the division charged with defending the civil and constitutional rights of the most vulnerable members of our society.

This nominee has routinely criticized the very laws he would be enforcing, including protections against sex and age discrimination. He even testified before Congress in his personal capacity against the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, which simply sought to ensure that women and men are paid equally for equal work. Inexplicably, he stated that this protection – which is now the law of the land – is not “in the best interest of the American People.”

Unfortunately, I suspect Mr. Dreiband’s track record of hostility toward our civil rights laws is precisely why he was nominated to lead this critical division.

I also cannot help but compare Mr. Dreiband’s qualifications to those of the last nominee our Committee considered to lead this division, Debo Adegbile. Debo grew up in poverty and ultimately followed in the footsteps of the great Thurgood Marshall to lead the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. He was one of our nation’s leading civil rights lawyers and would have brought a wealth of experience to the position.

Mr. Dreiband does not have that experience. He simply does not have a track record of defending and enforcing the civil rights laws that reflect the best of our society. And he does not have my vote.

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