Majority of Congressional Black Caucus Members Urges Senate to Reject John Walters

Press Release October 8, 2001
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Tony Newman at 510-208-7711 or Shayna Samuels at 212-547-6916

President Bush’s nominee for drug czar, John Walters, continues to come under attack from a variety of camps as he heads into his Senate confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee tomorrow, Wednesday, October 10th.

In the latest blow to Bush’s embattled nominee, twenty-one African American Members of Congress (over half of the Congressional Black Caucus) have signed a statement urging the Senate to reject Walters. Signers include Representative John Conyers – Congress’s most senior African American Member and the Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, the committee that has re-authorization authority over the drug czar’s office.

The one and half page statement declares that Walters’ “views on race and crime make him unfit for a position that requires sensitivity to racial fairness” and that Walters “is both woefully ill informed on the facts of the day and insensitive to the needs of the African American community.”

The statement is the latest in a series of broad-based criticisms of John Walters:

“At a time when our nation most needs leaders who can bring the American people together, John Walters is too divisive, too insensitive, and too extreme,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director for the Lindesmith Center – Drug Policy Foundation. “Walters not only opposes reducing racial disparities in the criminal justice system, but denies that they even exist. His lack of commitment to a drug policy based on science and public health approach is out of step with the nation.”

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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