While the attention in the upper chamber on Saturday focused on the confirmation of now Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed cloture on Department of Justice nominees Eric Dreiband and Jeffrey Bossert Clark.
Dreiband, a partner in the Washington office of Jones Day, was nominated by President Trump in June 2017 to lead the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department as an assistant attorney general.
Recommended by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Dreiband is a former Department of Labor and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission attorney during the George W. Bush administration, who presently deals in legal matters relating to employment discrimination, whistleblowers, wage and hour investigations, and litigation and counseling.
However, Trump administration opponents from LGBT interest groups to the NAACP have come out against Dreiband over the last year claiming he should not head up the civil rights division because his work includes defending some corporations against discrimination lawsuits.
One such case included winning the dismissal against Bloomberg, L.P. in a company-wide national and international discrimination and retaliation class action case brought forth by the EEOC in 2015.
Dreiband’s defenders, though, believe he will be an improvement to the civil rights division.
“He is as open-minded as possible for a principled person to be,” Richard Seymour, an employment lawyer who has known Dreiband for years, told the Associated Press. “He is the steadiest imaginable hand at the tiller that I can think of.”
David B. Grinberg, a former EEOC spokesman, told The AP that Dreiband was known to fight “very hard for women and minorities” during his time at the EEOC.
President Trump nominated Clark an assistant attorney general back in June 2017 to head up the Justice Department’s environmental division. Clark is a partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP, who previously worked in the DOJ’s Environment and Natural Resources Division during George W. Bush years from 2001 to 2005.
“He is a complex trial and appellate litigator with especially deep experience in administrative law, cutting across dozens of statutes and numerous agencies,” President Trump said of his nominee to head up the DOJ’s environmental division.
The Chamber of Commerce applauded the appointment, but environmental groups came out against Clark citing his legal work at Kirkland & Ellis when he defended BP following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion.
In June Politico reported that industry groups wrote a letter to the Senate stating, “confirmation is needed to provide the Justice Department with key leadership and experience as it prepares to address critical litigation on a number of important energy and environmental topics.”