Friday was my friend Eric Dreiband’s last day as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. Eric will take the rest of the month off and then return to private practice.
Eric accomplished a lot in his two years and two months in charge of the Civil Rights Division. Some of the Division’s accomplishments under Eric’s leadership are set forth in this DOJ announcement. Eric defended the Trump administration’s record on civil rights in this Washington Examiner op-ed.
Eric would have accomplished even more if the Republican Senate hadn’t waited a year-and-a-half to confirm him. It’s shocking that Chuck Schumer and his gang were allowed to hold up Eric’s confirmation for that long.
Even so, the Civil Right Division’s record under Eric is outstanding. Among its signature achievements are these:
It vigorously prosecuted hate crimes, including for the mass-murders at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; at an El Paso, Texas Walmart where 23 innocent people were killed; and in Charlottesville, Virginia where a white supremacist drove a car into a crowd of protesters.
In 2020, it filed more sexual harassment cases against landlords than in any previous year.
In 2019, it prosecuted more of cases of misconduct by law enforcement officers than in any previous year. These cases typically involved instances of excessive force by police or corrections officers.
In 2020, it charged the highest number of hate crimes in two decades.
It significantly increased the number of prosecutors who are dedicated to prosecuting the modern-day slavery of human trafficking — both in the commercial sex industry and as to forced labor. The division and its U.S. Attorney partners brought more than 700 human trafficking cases in recent years.
It successfully investigated, litigated, and settled more than 250 disability-rights cases.
It prosecuted criminals who targeted gay men for robbery, carjacking, and kidnapping, as well as two men who allegedly shot and killed two transgender individuals.
It launched a successful initiative to protect U.S. workers from citizenship discrimination and brought a case against a major social media company for its alleged widespread abuse of the temporary visa system.
It brought and successfully resolved cases involving racial discrimination in employment by local governments, including law enforcement agencies; racial discrimination in housing, including racial steering, under the Fair Housing Act; racially discriminatory lending under the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act; and race discrimination in voting under the Voting Rights Act.
Given this record, you might think that the so-called civil rights community would be commending Eric for his leadership. Instead, it is attacking his record.
Kristen Clarke, Joe Biden’s selection to head of the Civil Rights Division, blasted Eric in this article for CNN. (We’ll have more to say about Clarke in the coming weeks.) Tom Perez, the partisan hack who led the Civil Rights Division during some of the Obama years, called the Division’s performance under President Trump “an unmitigated disaster.” Vanita Gupta, who also headed the Division during the Obama administration, though she was never confirmed by the Senate, piled on, too. (Gupta is Biden’s selection for the number three job at the DOJ. We’ll have more to say about her, as well.)
Clarke and Gupta follow civil rights, including the DOJ’s enforcement of them, for a living, and Perez purports to know what he’s talking about on this subject. Clarke and Gupta are aware of the positive civil right accomplishments of the Trump DOJ, and Perez knows or should know of them.
Why do they ignore the record? Why are they lying?
They are lying because they dislike the fact that the Civil Rights Division protects not only the rights of women and minority group members, but also the rights of people of religious faith (Christians and Jews in this case) and the rights of individuals who don’t belong to minority groups or favored ones (Whites and Asian-Americans).
The rights of these people are protected by federal statute and the U.S. Constitution. Thus, it was entirely proper for the Civil Rights Division to assert these rights, in addition to the rights of the only groups of people Perez, Gupta, and Clarke are concerned about.
It was proper, and commendable, for the Civil Rights Division to act on behalf of people of faith whose rights to congregate in places of worship were treated less favorably than going to a restaurant or a casino were. The Supreme Court recently endorsed the positions the Civil Rights Division has advanced since the pandemic began.
It was proper, and commendable, for the Civil Rights Division to challenge race-based admissions policies at elite colleges — preferences that most Americans, and even most Californians, oppose. The institutions challenged by the Trump DOJ, Harvard and Yale, shamelessly discriminate against White and Asian-American applicants because of their skin color.
If Perez, Gupta, and Clarke want to defend the discrimination against Whites and Asians, that’s their right. If they want to criticize the Trump DOJ for taking the contrary view, that’s fine too. But it doesn’t excuse lying about the Civil Rights Division’s record as a whole.
How can Perez call a Division that brought record-breaking numbers of cases challenging sexual harassment by landlords, excessive use of force by police officer, and hate crimes “an unmitigated disaster”? He can’t — not without showing himself to be a thoroughly dishonest partisan operative.
There is, to be sure, Supreme Court law that supports race-based admissions preferences under some circumstances. But it’s legitimate for the DOJ to argue in district courts and courts of appeal that the preferences employed by Harvard and Yale don’t comply with Supreme Court guidance on the subject (or, if the opportunity had presented itself, to argue in the Supreme Court that existing law on the subject should be revisited, as Justice O’Connor suggested it would be in her seminal opinion on the subject.)
Let the courts decide this issue, not the “civil rights” special pleaders.
Eric’s record as head of the Civil Rights Division is exemplary. Under his leadership, the Division acted to protect the civil rights of all Americans. Unfortunately, the Democrats, obsessed as they are with identity politics, only want to protect the civil rights of their favorite groups. That’s why they have slandered Eric.
UPDATE: My answer to my own question “why do they lie?” wasn’t meant to be exhaustive. Here are some additional reasons:
1. It’s their nature.
2. They are Alinsky-ites who will destroy anyone who deviates from their leftist pseudo-religion.
3. They have a financial interest in peddling these lies because they want to scare donors to their lefty nonprofits into sending money.
4. Their lies helped keep them in the news during the Trump era and helped position themselves for high-level nominations if the Democratic candidate won the election.