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 TIME on politics Congressional Quarterly CNN/AllPolitics CNN/AllPolitics - Storypage, with TIME and Congressional Quarterly

Affirmative action foes target expected nominee

By Terry Frieden/CNN

February 16, 1999
Web posted at: 6:09 p.m. EST (2309 GMT)

WASHINGTON (February 16) -- Expecting the re-nomination of Bill Lann Lee to the government's top civil rights post, conservative foes of affirmative action issued a report Tuesday blasting Lee's performance in his year as "acting" assistant attorney general for civil rights.

Administration officials say President Bill Clinton is expected to try again to get Senate approval for Lee to take the job on a permanent basis.

Bill Lann Lee is expected to be
re-nominated to the government's
top civil rights post

More than a year ago, Republican senators blocked Lee's nomination, charging his views on affirmative action amounted to support for quotas and racial preferences. Despite the setback, Attorney General Janet Reno named Lee to fill the same post he was denied, on an "acting" basis.

At a Tuesday press conference on Capitol Hill, former Attorney General Edwin Meese III attacked as "a subterfuge" the appointment of Lee to head the civil rights division, despite the Senate's deadlock over the nomination.

Conservative activists Clint Bolick and Roger Clegg issued a report accusing Lee of continuing to back racial preferences through a series of Justice Department lawsuits filed during the past year.

"Sadly, in all too many instances, Bill Lann Lee has wielded the resources of the Civil Rights division to pursue racial preferences in government contracting, employment, voting and education," Bolick said.

Clegg charged Lee "believes not in a colorblind Constitution, but in a color-coded Constitution."

Lee's supporters were quick to respond to the charges.

"Today's attack on Bill Lann Lee was little more than warmed-over criticism from the same ideological partisans who opposed him when he was first nominated slightly over a year ago," said Wade Henderson, executive director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.


Clinton makes Lee acting civil rights chief (12-15-97)

Republicans Vow To Punish Clinton If He Appoints Lee (12/14/97)

Justice Staffers Cheer Bill Lann Lee (12/8/97)

Hatch says Lee's nomination dead (11/14/97)

Dems block vote on Lee nomination (11/13/97)


Justice Department Web site

White House Web site


Tuesday, February 16, 1999

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