Senate

Senate confirms new head of DOJ civil rights division

Getty Images

The Senate on Thursday narrowly confirmed President Trump’s pick to oversee the Justice Department’s civil rights division. 

{mosads}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 Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) missed Thursday’s vote. 

“Eric has distinguished himself as an outstanding lawyer and a committed public servant,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions 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 McConnell (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.

Tags Bill Nelson Department of Justice Donald Trump Heidi Heitkamp Jeff Sessions Marco Rubio Mitch McConnell Trump nominations United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division
See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more

Video

See all Video