Senate confirms new head of DOJ civil rights division
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The Senate on Thursday narrowly confirmed President TrumpDonald John TrumpButtigieg on Mueller report: 'Politically, I'm not sure it will change much' Sarah Sanders addresses false statements detailed in Mueller report: 'A slip of the tongue' Trump to visit Japan in May to meet with Abe, new emperor MORE's pick to oversee the Justice Department's civil rights division. 

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Senators voted 50-47 along party lines to confirm Eric Dreiband, whose nomination had been in limbo for more than a year. 

Democrats and a coalition of progressive and civil rights groups have long opposed Dreiband. But with Republicans holding a 51-49 majority Democrats don't have the ability to block Trump's nominees without flipping GOP senators. 

Sens. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampPro-trade groups enlist another ex-Dem lawmaker to push for Trump's NAFTA replacement Pro-trade group targets 4 lawmakers in push for new NAFTA Biden office highlights support from women after second accuser comes forward MORE (D-N.D.), Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonTrump administration renews interest in Florida offshore drilling: report Dem reps say they were denied access to immigrant detention center Ex-House Intel chair: Intel panel is wrong forum to investigate Trump's finances MORE (D-Fla.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioFreedom to Compete Act would benefit many American workers Booker, Harris have missed most Senate votes Dems say attorney general undermined credibility with Trump talking point MORE (R-Fla.) missed Thursday's vote. 

“Eric has distinguished himself as an outstanding lawyer and a committed public servant,” Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsMueller report shows how Trump aides sought to protect him and themselves Trump: 'I could have fired everyone' on Mueller team if I wanted to Five takeaways from Mueller's report MORE said in a statement after the vote. “His previous experience in protecting the civil and constitutional rights of all individuals will enable him to effectively lead the Civil Rights Division.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Health Care: McConnell offering bill to raise tobacco-buying age to 21 | NC gov vetoes 'born alive' abortion bill | CMS backs off controversial abortion proposal HR 1 brings successful local, state reforms to the federal level and deserves passage The Hill's 12:30 Report: Inside the Mueller report MORE (R-Ky.) added from the Senate floor that Dreiband was "well prepared to serve." 

"Those who have worked with Mr. Dreiband emphasize his strong commitment to protecting all Americans’ civil rights," McConnell said. 

Center for American Progress's Winnie Stachelberg said Dreiband's nomination is the latest example of the Trump administration's "contempt" for civil rights. 

"Dreiband has spent the bulk of his career defending corporations accused of discrimination and does not have the requisite experience to lead the agency charged with enforcing the nation’s civil rights laws. ... And he has no experience protecting voting rights, dealing with hate crimes, or holding police accountable for misconduct, areas critical to ensuring justice for all," Stachelberg added. 

Dreiband, a former counsel at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under President George W. Bush, testified against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2008, and represented the University of North Carolina in its defense of a law banning transgender people from using the bathroom corresponding to their gender identity.