Senate Judiciary Committee Confirms Controversial ‘Drug Czar’ Despite Widespread Opposition from Civil Rights & Public Health Organizations

Press Release November 7, 2001
Media Contact

Tony Newman at 510-208-7711 or Shayna Samuels at 212-547-6916

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted today to confirm President Bush’s controversial ‘drug czar’ nominee, John Walters, despite criticism from the Betty Ford Center, ACLU, American Public Health Association, the majority of the Congressional Black Caucus and a range of other civil rights and public health organizations.

The Committee voted 14 to 5 to approve Walters. In opposition were the three senior members of the Judiciary Committee – Committee Chair Senator Leahy (D-VT); Senator Biden (D-DE), Chair of the Subcommittee on Drugs and Crime, and Senator Kennedy (D-MA). Also in opposition were Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Durbin (D-IL).

“As a national leader, Walter’s must respond to what the American people want when it comes to new drug policies,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of The Lindesmith Center – Drug Policy Foundation. “It is his responsibility now to focus more on community-based drug treatment for non-violent offenders and ways to curb racial profiling.”

Prior to today’s Committee vote, a number of organizations criticized Walter’s record on treatment and race. For example:

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

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