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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release July 21, 1999


I strongly support the efforts of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans to call attention to the failure of the Senate to confirm Bill Lann Lee as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.

I resubmitted Mr. Lee's nomination to the Senate more than four months ago, yet the Senate Judiciary Committee has not considered his nomination. Bill Lee has an excellent record as Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. Under his leadership, the Justice Department has enforced our civil rights laws justly and fairly. The Department is combating hate crimes, ensuring fair housing, fighting illegal discrimination against persons with disabilities, protecting workers from exploitation, and taking other strong actions to protect people's rights.

Some of Mr. Lee's opponents have decided to use his nomination as a means of expressing their disagreement with the civil rights laws themselves. This is wrong. He deserves to be considered based on his record and abilities, not blocked because some Senators disagree with the law of the land. To refuse to allow the Senate to vote on his nomination does a disservice to the confirmation process, to this outstanding nominee, and to the American people.