Almost 50 LGBT groups have signed a six-page letter opposing President Trump’s pick to become the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Eric Dreiband, who will appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday, represented the University of North Carolina to defend the anti-transgender law known as HB2. He also represented Abercrombie & Fitch in a Supreme Court case where the retailer was sued by a Muslim woman for the company’s policy on headscarves.
“Mr. Dreiband’s overwhelmingly anti-civil rights record and his personal involvement in cases seeking to diminish the rights of LGBT people and other vulnerable communities strongly suggests that he will continue to promote the anti-civil rights agenda of this administration, rather than exercise the kind of leadership and willingness to defend civil rights that is needed from the head of the Civil Rights Division perhaps now more than ever,” the LGBT groups say in a letter sponsored by the LGBT legal group Lambda Legal.
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.”
“Dreiband has an extensive track record of working to undermine civil rights” in various arenas, the letter reveals.
“Dreiband represented a group of organizations in the Supreme Court seeking religious exemptions from the contraceptive requirement in the Affordable Care Act,” it also notes.
He advocated on behalf of Bloomberg, L.P. against 60 women whowere challenging the company’s pregnancy leave practices. And perhaps most revealing of his personal views, Mr. Dreiband testified as a private citizen (not on behalf of a client) before Congress against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, a law that helped ensure women could sue for discrimination even if their employer succeeded in keeping the discrimination hidden.
“The nomination of an attorney who volunteered to join a litigation team seeking to frustrate the Civil Rights Division’s efforts to defend transgender people from discrimination is insulting not only to the LGBT community but to the career men and women of the Division who valiantly litigated that case for many months (until the Sessions Justice Department abandoned the litigation following a modification of the law).”
The LGBT civil rights groups are not the only ones opposed. The NAACP calls Dreiband a “dangerous choice,” who “has been on the wrong side of issues pertaining to housing, hate crimes and the many other critical areas that the Civil Rights Division oversees as part of its core mission.”
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Hat tip: The Hill