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Trump's Pick for Civil Rights Enforcer Defended HB 2

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John Gore, chosen as assistant attorney general for civil rights, also defended voter suppression laws.

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Donald Trump's choice to head the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division defended North Carolina's anti-LGBT House Bill 2, a Florida voter suppression law, and redistricting plans that were alleged to violate civil rights.

John Gore, a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of prominent law firm Jones Day, will be deputy assistant attorney general for civil rights, Slate reports. His firm announced the appointment Friday.

Gore has helped defend North Carolina in a federal lawsuit against HB 2, which prevents localities from enacting or enforcing LGBT-inclusive antidiscrimination laws, and bars transgender people from using restrooms and other single-sex facilities matching their gender identity, when those are located in government buildings, including public schools and state universities.

"Basically, he was on the side of discrimination in the country's most high-profile LGBTQ rights case of the past year," writes Slate's Jeremy Stahl. He recently took himself off the case, most likely because of the anticipated presidential appointment.

Gore also represented Florida in its defense of a law designed to remove suspected noncitizens from voter registration rolls, Slate reports. A federal appeals court found the law in violation of the National Voter Registration Act. It primarily targeted Latino and Democratic voters.

He further has defended several redistricting plans against accusations of civil rights violations, "with his online bio boasting of a number of successful such defenses," Slate notes.

"If it was already clear before the inauguration that Trump and Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions are likely to short shrift [civil rights], on Friday it became more so," the online publication continues.

"President Trump just appointed someone who defended one of the most discriminatory laws in the land to a key role in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. This is shameful," Human Rights Campaign legal director Sarah Warbelow adds in a press release. "If these reports are true, anybody who cares about civil rights should be gravely concerned. Among other things, HB 2 places transgender North Carolinians in harm's way and bans cities from passing nondiscrimination protections, which has cost the state more than $600 million. President Trump appears to be assembling an anti-LGBTQ team to lead the very agency charged with ensuring every American is protected from discrimination."

Another concern for supporters of civil rights is that the incoming administration has released a plan for deep cuts in spending at the Justice Department, among many other funding reductions, The Hill reports.

"At the Department of Justice, the blueprint calls for eliminating the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, Violence Against Women Grants and the Legal Services Corporation and for reducing funding for its Civil Rights and its Environment and Natural Resources divisions," according to The Hill.

The plan is similar to ones pushed by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, and the Republican Study Committee, a coalition of far-right members of Congress. It may undergo some changes before being introduced in Congress, where it is likely to be resisted by Democrats and moderate Republicans.

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.