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Statement of Mark J. Pelavin, Associate Director Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism on President Clinton's Nomination of Bill Lann Lee as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights
March 5, 1999

"We are pleased that President Clinton has decided to again nominate Bill Lann Lee to the position of assistant attorney general for civil rights. That Mr. Lee's nomination to this vital post was previously blocked by partisan ideologues who oppose the president's long-held position on affirmative action is deeply troubling to those committed to ensuring equal rights for all Americans. While reasonable people may disagree over policy prescriptions, affirmative action remains a constitutional, legal and effective remedy for redressing civil rights violations. Mr. Lee's support for affirmative action, and his desire to implement the president's policies in this arena, is perfectly appropriate and should in no way preclude his nomination."

"Serving in the civil rights post on an 'acting' basis since December 1997, Bill Lann Lee has performed strongly, validating the widely-held view that he is eminently qualified for the position as the nation's chief civil rights law enforcement officer. At the time of his original nomination, dozens of religious, civil liberties, and civic organizations called on the Senate Judiciary Committee to forward Mr. Lee's nomination to the Senate floor for an up-down vote. What was true then is only more true now: the American people deserve a full Senate vote on the merits of Mr. Lee's nomination."

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, representing 1.5 million Reform Jews and 1,800 Reform rabbis in 875 congregations throughout North America.



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