Sunday, July 9, 2017

Trump Appoints New Head of DOJ Civil Rights Division

President Trump just Nominated Eric Dreiband, a man who spent his entire Career attacking Civil Rights in America to Head the Civil Rights Division in the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Dreiband most recently Defended the Anti-Trans “Bathroom Bill” in North Carolina. And now he’s Expected to Lead the National Conversation on Protecting Civil Rights.

Here’s a quick look at Eric Dreiband’s Track Record as a Corporate Defense Attorney:

- He Defended the University of North Carolina’s efforts to Discriminate against Trans Students.

- He Defended the Tobacco Company R.J. Reynolds in an Age Discrimination Case.

- He Defended Bloomberg in a Pregnancy Discrimination Case.

- He Defended the Washington Post in an Age and Race Discrimination Case.

- He Defended Corporations in Severance Agreements.

- He Argued in front of the U.S. Supreme Court that Abercrombie & Fitch should be able to Refuse Hiring Muslim Women. The Company Refused to Hire a 17-year-old Muslim Woman because she wore a Headscarf. The Court didn’t buy it, ruling 8-1 in Favor of the Muslim woman.

If Approved by the Senate, he will come from the Law Firm Jones Day, from which several other Employees have also left to Work in the Federal Government after Trump took office.

All of this requires a certain Expertise in Civil Rights and Nondiscrimination Laws, which Dreiband will surely bring to the Job. But as Head of the Civil Rights Division, one of his top Jobs would be to do the Opposite of what his History suggests he’s Specialized in. He would be Expected to Enforce Civil Rights Laws against Big Companies, Government Agencies like Police Departments, and other Entities that may Discriminate.

But Dreiband does have a Brief History of taking the Opposite Role, serving in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which upholds Nondiscrimination Laws in the Workplace, under President George W. Bush. There, he worked on Lawsuits against Abercrombie & Fitch, for alleged Discrimination against Minority Employees, and against a Meat Processing company in Chicago, for alleged Discrimination against Black and Female Employees. Still, this Work represents only a Small part of his Career.

Dreiband has also long Criticized some Civil Rights Laws, such as Legislation that would work to Prohibit Wage Discrimination. And he Criticized the “Ban the Box” Initiative that attempts to Prevent Private Employers from asking about a Job Applicant’s Criminal History.

Civil Rights Groups quickly spoke out against Dreiband’s Nomination. Coupled with Trump’s Comments on the Campaign Trail and Jeff Sessions’s Leadership at the Justice Department, the pick is just the latest Sign that the Trump Administration marks a Return to the Lack of Seriousness toward Civil Rights Law Enforcement that has been typical of recent Republican Presidencies. So one of the potentially most important Duties of the Federal Government will go Neglected.

“Now, more than ever, the leader of the Civil Rights Division must uphold its mission,” Vanita Gupta, who Headed the Civil Rights Division under President Obama and is now CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said in a Statement. “This is an administration that has shown an open hostility to, and a demonstrated record of, undermining our nation’s core civil rights. We need a leader who will take the lessons of previous administrations and reject the politicization of the division.”

She added, “Dreiband has devoted the vast majority of his career to defending corporations accused of employment discrimination. He has opposed important legislation to safeguard our civil rights. And he has no known experience in most of the Civil Rights Division’s core issue areas, such as voting rights, police reform, housing, education, and hate crimes. He is the wrong person for the job.”

So it’s Unclear if any of the Abuses uncovered by the DOJ in Ferguson, Baltimore, Chicago, and many other places would have been Fully Exposed without the official Federal Investigations. Dreiband, based on his recent Career, doesn’t seem like someone you’d Appoint to this Role if you’re serious about Cracking down on Civil Rights Abuses.

But it’s not just Dreiband. The Trump Administration, under Sessions in particular, has shown that it doesn’t care much for Civil Rights Efforts. Of course, much of this will come as little surprise to anyone who’s been watching Trump since he Launched his 2016 Campaign.

During discussion in 2009 about a New Federal Hate Crimes Law that would Protect LGBTQ People and Women, Sessions said, “Today, I'm not sure women or people with different sexual orientations face that kind of discrimination. I just don't see it.” FBI Data, while Imperfect, shows that LGBTQ People are more likely to be Targets of Hate Crimes than other Minority Groups. Sessions previously said that the Voting Rights Act, which allowed the Federal Government to Oversee Elections in States with Histories of Racism, is a “piece of intrusive legislation.” And when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Parts of the Law, Sessions argued that Shelby County, Alabama, where the Supreme Court Challenge came from, “has never had a history of denying voters and certainly not now” — even though the County, like Alabama generally, has a long, long History of Discrimination of all kinds.

That doesn’t even get to controversial Racist Comments, which Sessions claims were Jokes, that Derailed his Nomination to a Federal Judgeship in the 1980s. Among the many Remarks that Surfaced, Sessions once allegedly said the Ku Klux Klan “was okay until I found out they smoked pot.”

As Attorney General, Sessions has lived up to the Expectations of his Past. In particular, he has already taken steps to Stop the Federal Government from Investigating Police, for example, getting his Justice Department to “Pull Back” on Civil Rights Lawsuits and Investigations against Law Enforcement. This is only the beginning. The Trump Administration, after all, has only been in Office for a little more than Five Months. But that brief time, along with Dreiband’s Nomination, has been enough to alarm Civil Rights Groups about where this is all going.

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