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Hearing Set on Controversial Rights Nominee

June 17, 1989|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Senate Judiciary Committee announced Friday that it has scheduled a July 19 confirmation hearing for William Lucas, nominated by President Bush to be the Justice Department's civil rights chief.

Sen. Paul Simon (D-Ill.), chairman of the panel's civil rights subcommittee, will be in charge of the hearing, committee spokeswoman Jane Berman said.

The nomination is opposed by several civil rights groups that contend that Lucas, a black Republican, lacks the legal and professional experience to be assistant attorney general for civil rights.

Never Tried Court Case

Lucas, formerly sheriff and later chief executive of Wayne County, Mich., said on a committee questionnaire that he has never tried a case in court since he became a private attorney two years ago.

Several black leaders, notably Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) and former Democratic presidential candidate Jesse Jackson, have expressed support for Lucas. Some civil rights groups also have supported him.

The split in the civil rights community is expected to hamper efforts by Lucas' opponents to block his confirmation. So far, no Democratic senator has expressed opposition.

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