October 24, 2014 · 30 Tishrei

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National Religious, Civil Liberties, and Community Organizations Call on the Senate Judiciary Committee

"That this candidate, who has been described as eminently qualified by supporters and most critics of the nomination, has had his nomination sidetracked into a policy debate over affirmative action ill serves both America and the cause of civil rights."

WASHINGTON, November 11 - Saying that they are "gravely alarmed" about the "nature of the emerging debate" over the nomination of Bill Lann Lee to be Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, twenty-six national religious, civil liberties, and community organizations today called on the Senate Judiciary Committee to "find more appropriate forums to debate the affirmative action issue and to expeditiously forward Mr. Lee's nomination to the floor of the Senate where the American people can have their Senators vote on the merits of the nomination."

The organizations signed a joint letter, coordinated by the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, which emphasized that they "rarely or never endorse or oppose nominees for executive branch positions," and that they "are not taking a formal position on the nomination of Bill Lann Lee . . ."

The letter, which is being sent today to the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate leadership states that "The President of the United States has a right, except in the most extreme circumstances, to appoint officials to implement his views. Mr. Lee's view that affirmative action remains a constitutional, legal and effective means of redressing infringements on civil rights, a view we share, is completely in consonance with the President's long-held position."

The full text of the letter follows:

Dear Senator:

We are national organizations that rarely or never endorse or oppose nominees for executive branch positions. So, too, we are not taking a formal position on the nomination of Bill Lann Lee to be Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the Department of Justice. However, the nature of the emerging debate over his nomination has gravely alarmed us, and required us to speak out. That this candidate, who has been described as eminently qualified by supporters and most critics of the nomination, has had his nomination sidetracked into a policy debate over affirmative action ill serves both America and the cause of civil rights.

The President of the United States has a right, except in the most extreme circumstances, to appoint officials to implement his views. Mr. Lee's view that affirmative action remains a constitutional, legal and effective means of redressing infringements on civil rights, a view we share, is completely in consonance with the President's long-held position.

Accordingly, we call on the Senate Judiciary Committee to find more appropriate forums to debate the affirmative action issue and to expeditiously forward Mr. Lee's nomination to the floor of the Senate where the American people can have their Senators vote on the merits of the nomination.

Sincerely,

  • American Association for Affirmative Action
  • Americans for Democratic Action
  • American Friends Service Committee, Washington Office
  • American Jewish Congress
  • Black Women's Agenda
  • Central Conference of American Rabbis
  • Church Women United
  • Coalition of Labor Union Women
  • Friends Committee on National Legislation
  • League of Women's Voters of the United States
  • MANA, A National Latina Organization
  • National Committee on Pay Equity
  • National Council of the Churches of Christ, USA
  • National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce
  • NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund
  • Presbyterian Church, USA
  • Unionof American Hebrew Congregations
  • United Church of Christ, Office for Church in Society
  • WashingtonEthical Action Office of the American Ethical Union
  • Wider Opportunities for Women
  • Women First, National Legislative Committee
  • Women of Reform Judaism
  • Women Work! The National Network for Women's Employment
  • Women's Activist Fund
  • Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press
  • Women's Research and Education Institute



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