The Leadership Conference is working diligently to see that Tom Perez is confirmed as U.S. Secretary of Labor. Perez is an eminently qualified public servant and consensus builder who has dedicated his career to ensuring that all individuals are treated fairly and have the opportunity to succeed. He has served with integrity and distinction at the local, state and national level, compiling an outstanding record of achievement.
Obama Nominates Two to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
January 31, 2011 - Posted by Tyler Lewis
President Obama recently nominated Roberta Achtenberg and Marty Castro to serve on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, an independent advisory commission charged with investigating and reporting on all levels of government to ensure all citizens' civil rights were protected.
"President Obama has chosen two eminently qualified individuals to serve on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights," said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
Achtenberg is a well-respected civil rights attorney who co-founded the National Center for Lesbian Rights in 1977. In 1993, she became the first openly gay or lesbian person to be confirmed for a federal appointment when the Senate approved her nomination to serve as assistant secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
In 2009, Castro was appointed by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn to chair the Illinois Human Rights Commission. He also served as chair of the Judicial Nominations Commission for the Northern District of Illinois.
The commission was created by the Civil Rights Act of 1957 as an independent fact-finding body charged with investigating and reporting on civil rights and making recommendations to the federal government on how to fix the problems it uncovered. Through its fact-finding work, it helped lay the foundation for the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Over the past few years, however, the commission has taken positions hostile to civil rights, such as opposing the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act in 2006, the passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, and the passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
"While we have great confidence in these new commission members, additional steps must be taken to restore the commission to its former status as 'the conscience of the nation' in helping to protect and secure the civil and human rights of every person in the U.S., "Henderson said.
In its 2009 report on the commission, The Leadership Conference recommended reforms that would broaden the commission's mandate to include LGBT civil rights issues and oversight of U.S. commitments under international human rights treaties, and changing the way members are appointed to the commission to ensure that commissioners remain independent. Currently, members are appointed by Congress and the president and are not required to undergo a confirmation process.
Jenny Yang Sworn In as EEOC Commissioner - 5/15/13