This vote was on confirming Thomas E. Perez to be assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
Perez had previously served in the agency’s civil rights division during the administration of President Bill Clinton. Prior to his confirmation, Perez was serving as Maryland state secretary of labor.
Some Republicans had held up his nomination because they were concerned about some of the stances Perez had taken on behalf of illegal immigrants. Perez himself is the son of immigrants from the Dominican Republic.
In particular, Tom Coburn, R-Okla., said he opposed the nomination because Perez had opposed some states’ adoption of English-only laws. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., also opposed his nomination, but spent most of his time criticizing the agency’s Civil Rights Division for a recent decision to abandon a voter intimidation case they had been pursuing against the New Black Panther Party.
“With this vote today, we can take a major step forward to restore the integrity, confidence, historical role, and the reputation of the Nation's most important agency to protect the civil rights of all Americans,” said Ben Cardin, D-Md.
By a vote of 72-22, the Senate voted to confirm Perez. Every Democrat present voted for his nomination. Of Republicans present, 17 voted for his nomination and 22 voted against it. The end result is that Thomas E. Perez was confirmed to be assistant attorney general in the Justice Departments’ Civil Rights Division.