On Thursday, October 30, members of Congress and representatives of the Asian-Pacific, Hispanic, African-American, and women_s communities gathered on the Capitol lawn to voice their support for President Clinton_s nominee for the position of Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, Bill Lann Lee.
Leading the way, Rep. Patsy Mink (D-Hawaii), chair of the Asian Pacific Caucus denounced opposition to Lee’s nomination and pledged to support the civil rights nominee . “The Congressional Asian-Pacific Caucus is especially proud to support the confirmation of Bill Lann Lee,” stated Mink, “He brings to this office the practical experience of an accomplished civil rights lawyer coupled with a deep understanding of and commitment to the human quest for equality.” Joining Mink in her endorsement of Lee was Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), Chair of the Black Caucus, Xavier Beccera (D-Calif.), Chair of the Hispanic Caucus, Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, other members of Congress and Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal.
Lee is currently serving the State of California as the Western Regional Counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. If confirmed, he will be the first Asian-American to serve in the position of Assistant Attorney for Civil Rights.
Nominated on July 21, 1997, Lee has faced criticism from Newt Gingrich and his Republican colleagues because of his support for affirmative action. Attorney General Janet Reno voiced support for Lee, stating “Bill Lee is a superbly qualified lawyer who epitomizes the American Dream. It would be a grave mistake, holding him hostage to political disagreements over policy.”