Lambda Legal & 46 LGBT Groups: Eric Dreiband Must Not Lead DOJ's Civil Rights Division

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September 5, 2017

Today, Lambda Legal and 46 other national, state, and local LGBT groups from across the country strongly opposed the confirmation of Eric S. Dreiband to serve as the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division at the Dept. of Justice, citing his “overwhelmingly anti-civil rights record” and his efforts to “diminish the rights of LGBT people and other vulnerable communities.”

In a letter organized by Lambda Legal and sent to leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee – who are expected to hear testimony from Dreiband at a confirmation hearing on Wednesday morning – LGBT groups said that in light of the moral crisis facing the nation in the wake of Charlottesville, Dreiband’s record of opposing civil rights “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 … now more than ever."

“Mr. 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,” the letter states.

“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… His nomination embodies this Justice Department’s lack of commitment to defending the civil rights of LGBT people.”

The letter documents Dreiband’s troubling anti-civil rights track record, which extends beyond the LGBT community, and includes professional efforts to restrict Muslim women from wearing headscarves at work and to block women’s access to contraception under the Affordable Care Act, and his testimony before Congress as a private citizen to oppose the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and other important protections for workers.

The letter places this nomination in its broader context: specifically a Department of Justice that, under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has “abdicat[ed] its role as a defender of civil rights.”  

The nomination of Eric Dreiband confirms what has already been made clear: “Under President Trump and Attorney General Sessions, the Civil Rights Division will no longer be in the business of defending civil rights."