10 Reasons Not To Confirm Thomas Perez as Next Labor Secretary
It is not every week that the Senate confronts a cabinet nominee who does not believe in the equal application of the law and intends to micromanage your life, except for this week. On Thursday the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold a vote on the nomination of Thomas Perez, the current Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, to be the next Secretary of Labor. That vote will likely send Perez’s nomination to the Senate floor. Before that occurs, here’s a list of 10 examples of why Thomas Perez should not be confirmed as the next Secretary of Labor.
Perez has pushed bad labor policy while running the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department.
1. Perez filed an anti-religious liberty brief in the Supreme Court in Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC that involved the firing of a teacher at the Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church. The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the Establishment Clause prevented the government from involving itself in the appointment of church ministers. Thomas Perez argued, quite extraordinarily, that the First Amendment had no bearing on the government’s ability to regulate who churches can and cannot hire to teach religion at its religious schools. Is this the type of leadership we want expanded to all of our nation’s labor practices?
2. Perez took the Fire Department of New York to court to throw out their written test because he felt there was not the right racial mix among those that were successful on the test. Instead, he argued, those who had outright failed the fire academy’s admissions test should be admitted anyway solely on the basis of their race. This action even prevented minority applicants who had passed the test from being admitted. He similarly forced the Dayton, Ohio Police Department to accept recruits who scored an ‘F’ on the recruitment exam – even the local chapter of the NAACP criticized his actions, saying it did “not support individuals failing a test” and then getting hired. Is a man who is willing to throw out vital performance metrics for hiring that ensure public safety really someone who should be managing labor policy?
Perez has consistently used his position to push radically liberal policies.
3. Perez overturned the recommendation of career lawyers in the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division to preclear the State of South Carolina’s new voter ID law in the run up to the 2012 election, forcing South Carolina to spend $3.5 million to sue the Justice Department. Perez lost the law suit in federal court.
4. Perez initiated a baseless prosecution under the Free Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act against a woman who offered sidewalk counseling in front of an abortion clinic. The FACE Act has an explicit exemption for “expressive conduct,” and as Heritage’s Hans von Spakovsky wrote, “The judge in the Florida case noted the shocking absence of any evidentiary grounds for the prosecution, or even the applicability of the FACE Act, exposing the bald partisanship of this Justice Department.” Are these types of frivolous prosecutions going to help the American work force?
5. Perez engaged in an ethically questionable quid pro quo with two cases involving the St. Paul, Minnesota. The City of St. Paul was sued by the landlords of low income housing, arguing that the city’s attempt to enforce its building codes and improve the horrendous living conditions for those low income tenants had a “disparate impact” on minorities. At the same time, the federal government had two potential claims under the False Claims Act against St. Paul and stood to recoup up to $200 million in taxpayer money. Perez agreed to drop the False Claims Act claims (involving the return of millions in taxpayer money) in exchange for the city abandoning their effort to have the Supreme Court throw out the disparate impact suit even though the government was not even a party in the suit. Perez feared that the Supreme Court would have blown apart the dubious “disparate impact” legal theory he has used to extort large settlements from banks and mortgage companies using questionable statistics, not evidence of any intentional discrimination.
6. Perez misled the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in sworn testimony when he claimed that political appointees at the Justice Department had no involvement in the dismissal of the voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party members who were videoed in front of a polling place, during the 2008 election in Pennsylvania. A recent report from the Inspector General (IG) on the Voting Section also reveals that Perez misled the Commission when he said he believes in the race-neutral enforcement of federal voting laws. Two former Voting Section lawyers have confirmed that Perez testified inaccurately based on briefings they gave Perez. Perez even told the IG that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act does not protect white voters from discrimination, a view of the law that seriously draws into question his ability to enforce the nation’s labor laws judiciously.
7. According to the IG report, employees in the Division who harassed, intimidated, and bullied other employees who were perceived as conservatives or Republicans or who believed in the race-neutral enforcement of the Voting Rights Act have been neither disciplined or terminated, including one current employee who admitted to lying to the IG about her behavior. Perez’s tolerance for such misbehavior brings into question his ability to be a nonpartisan, fair, and impartial head of a major government agency.
Perez sought to have the federal government micromanage the most mundane aspects of business and daily life.
8. Perez actually engaged in legal action against several universities to prevent them from purchasing or promoting the Amazon Kindle DX because the device did not come with a speech-to-text function for the menu that would have aided blind users.
9. Because of Mr. Perez’s actions, local public pools were threatened with hefty fines from the Justice Department if they did not have a mechanical chair lift, meeting strict federal specifications, for those who require it to get in and out of the pool.
10. Perez and the Obama Justice Department are opposed to a key provision of the National Voter Registration Act that requires states to periodically clear their rolls of ineligible voters. These checks are meant to reduce voter fraud in the states by ensuring individuals such as felons and the deceased do not remain listed as registered voters. Instead of defending the integrity of elections and the votes of eligible voters the Justice Department is again pushing a partisan agenda.