Trump's Choice for Top Civil Rights Job Defends Private-Sector Work

Trump's Choice for Top Civil Rights Job Defends Private-Sector Work”

"Anyone who perpetrates crimes or any other civil rights violations that come within the jurisdiction of the civil rights division should know - they should be on notice, if I'm confirmed - that the civil rights division is coming for them", Mr. Dreiband told the Senate Judiciary Committee, deploring "the bigotry and ideology" of white supremacy.

Mr. Dreiband also said he was not aware of any data supporting the claim that millions of people illegally voted.

Later, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island, asked Dreiband if he would be willing to push back on any potential recommendations by the voter commission on enforcement, should those recommendations hinder access to the ballot by certain groups.

On Wednesday, Mr. Dreiband pointed to his work at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Department of Labor as evidence he had protected and would continue to protect Americans' civil rights.

Picking someone to lead the Civil Rights Division has been controversial in recent years under both Democratic and Republican administrations, with each side accused of trying to impose a partisan agenda on the nominee.

In the wake of deadly violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, both Sen.

Civil rights groups are concerned about Dreiband's work since 2005 as a labor attorney for prominent Washington law firms Akin Gump and Jones Day, where he is now a partner.

Mr. Dreiband avoided directly answering the question, prompting concern from gay rights advocates.

"When give the opening to dismiss or condemn the myth perpetuated that widespread voter fraud is a serious problem, he essentially punted and treated that like an open question", said Kyle Barry, senior policy counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican, and Sen. "I was totally disgusted by the disgrace that we saw in Charlottesville".

Dreiband is nominated to be Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.

If confirmed, Mr. Dreiband would oversee the federal investigation. Dreiband has defended companies like R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in an age discrimination case, Bloomberg in a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit and CVS Pharmacy in an employee severance agreement lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. While racial discrimination was the motivating goal and central focus of the first civil rights laws enacted by Congress, Congress has included in statutes enforced by the Division protections against many types of discrimination, including not only race and color but national origin, sex, disability, religion, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and military status. In his hearing Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Dreiband faced few questions about his past clients.

"Why would you be opposed to equal pay for equal work?"

Charging that Dreiband's nomination "embodies this Justice Department's lack of commitment to defending the civil rights of LGBT people", the letter notes "Dreiband chose to represent the University of North Carolina when it was sued by civil rights groups and the U.S. Department of Justice after North Carolina passed a law (HB2) restricting transgender people's ability to access public restrooms".

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