Equality California: Nomination of Eric Dreiband to Key Civil Rights Post a 'Terrible Signal'

Los Angeles – July 7, 2017  Equality California today expressed its opposition to President Donald Trump's nomination of Eric Dreiband, a lawyer who recently represented the University of North Carolina in its decision to implement provisions of that state's odious "bathroom bill", to serve as the Department of Justice's head of Civil Rights Enforcement.

"Once again, a nomination by Donald Trump is sending a terrible signal to LGBTQ Americans in general and to transgender people in particular," said Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California. "North Carolina's HB 2 is one of the most anti-LGBTQ pieces of state legislation in recent history, and to pick Eric Dreiband -- one of its legal champions -- for this important position makes it clear that we cannot count on Trump to protect the rights of LGBTQ Americans. As we opposed the nominations of others in the growing ranks of anti-LGBTQ members of the Trump Administration, we soundly oppose Dreiband's nomination for a post vital to the civil rights of millions of vulnerable Americans. We urge every member of the U.S. Senate to firmly oppose his confirmation to ensure that the job of the assistant attorney general is executed as intended -- to protect the civil rights of the most vulnerable."

Dreiband has a long history of fighting federal enforcement of anti-discrimination laws. A lawyer at Jones Day, he represented Catholic plaintiffs who objected to the Affordable Care Act's required contraceptive coverage, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in an age discrimination suit, and Bloomberg LP in a pregnancy discrimination case. He twice represented Abercrombie & Fitch; once when the EEOC brought a suit on behalf of black, Latino and Asian employees and applicants, and again when the retailer was sued by a Muslim woman who was not hired after she wore a religious headscarf to a job interview.

Dreiband testified during hearings for the Fair Pay Restoration Act (the first measure President Obama signed into law upon taking office), ominously warning that if the wage discrimination law was enacted, it would "create unanticipated and potentially ruinous liability for state and local governments, unions, employers, and others covered by the federal antidiscrimination laws." In another employment-related case, he argued strenuously against "ban the box" policies in which job seekers are allowed to advance the next level of an application process before having to disclose their criminal histories.

If confirmed, Dreiband would be responsible for overseeing the Justice Department's efforts on voting rights, employment, disability and immigration discrimination, police brutality and transgender issues, among other matters central to the health and wellbeing of LGBTQ Americans, women and disabled people, including those living with HIV and AIDS. As has been the case with many nominees advanced by the Trump Administration to senior positions, Dreiband has no working experience in most of these areas.

Equality California is the nation's largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization dedicated to creating a fair and just society. Our mission is to achieve and maintain full and lasting equality, acceptance and social justice for all people in our diverse LGBT communities, inside and outside of California. Our mission includes advancing the health and well-being of LGBT Californians through direct healthcare service advocacy and education. Through electoral, advocacy, education and mobilization programs, we strive to create a broad and diverse alliance of LGBT people, educators, government officials, communities of color and faith, labor, business, and social justice communities to achieve our goals. www.eqca.org

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