LGBT groups want Trump civil rights nominee blocked

LGBT groups want Trump civil rights nominee blocked
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An LGBT advocacy group is calling on the Senate Judiciary Committee to block President Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Justice’s civil rights decision.

In a Tuesday letter to Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyKavanaugh returns questionnaire to Senate panel Sunk judicial pick spills over into Supreme Court fight Andrew Wheeler must reverse damage to American heartland MORE (R-Iowa) and ranking member Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSunk judicial pick spills over into Supreme Court fight Senate GOP breaks record on confirming Trump picks for key court Deal to fix family separations hits snag in the Senate MORE (D-Calif.), Lambda Legal argued that attorney Eric Dreiband is not committed to the department's cause.

“The message being sent, first by the 2018 budget proposal and now by the nomination of Mr. Dreiband, could not be more clear: under President Trump and Attorney General Sessions, the Civil Rights Division will no longer be in the business of defending civil rights,” the letter said.

The letter was written on Lambda's letterhead but is signed by more than 40 other groups, including the National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund, the National Women's Law Center and People For the American Way. 

It comes the day members of Congress return from the August recess.

“Experienced and principled leadership is needed to ensure that the civil rights of our most vulnerable populations are protected and enforced,” the letter said. “Mr. Dreiband’s record of opposing civil rights renders him ill-suited to provide that kind of leadership to the Civil Rights Division.”

The letter is not the first time civil rights advocates have raised concerns about Dreiband, whose nomination Trump officially sent to the Senate in June.

Vanita Gupta, who lead the civil rights division under former President Obama, in June said Dreiband is “the wrong person for the job.”

The letter from Lambda Legal cited various clients Dreiband represented in his work as an attorney. One such case includes Dreiband’s work representing Abercrombie & Fitch in front of the Supreme Court when it was sued for not hiring a Muslim woman because she wore a hijab.

“Faced with the question of who will lead the Civil Rights Division, the Senate has an opportunity to send its own message, a message that communicates clearly and emphatically that civil rights enforcement is a key government function, and that the Department of Justice must protect and defend the rights of all citizens, not just those who command the President’s attention,” the letter said.

“Mr. Dreiband, with his track record of impeding and resisting civil rights, is simply not the right man for the job.”