On March 31, 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Tom Perez to be Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice. The full United States Senate confirmed Perez on October 6, 2009 in a bipartisan 72-22 vote.
Over the past 3 1/2 years, Perez has led the Civil Rights Division, building consensus with various stakeholders to uphold the civil and constitutional rights of all Americans, particularly some of the most vulnerable members of our society. The Division enforces federal statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, disability, religion, familial status and national origin. Highlights include:
- A settlement agreement with the nation’s eleventh-largest school district to prevent and address discrimination in school enrollment and student discipline.
- Joining the fight to end bullying and harassment against students in schools and obtaining a major settlement to protect children from school bullying in the Anoka-Hennepin School District, Minnesota.
- Obtaining the Department’s largest-ever disability-based housing discrimination settlement: a $10.5 million settlement to resolve allegations that a construction company based in Irving, Texas discriminated on the basis of disability in the design and construction of multifamily housing complexes throughout the United States.
- The largest recovery ever in a sexual harassment suit brought by the Department under the Fair Housing Act: three Manhattan landlords will pay $2 million to their sexual harassment victims.
- Settling the three largest fair-lending cases in the history of the Fair Housing Act; as a result, the Division in 2012 recovered more money for victims under the Fair Housing Act than in the previous 23 years combined.
- Successful implementation of the landmark Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which provides additional tools for federal prosecutors to combat hate crimes. As a result, the number of defendants the Division convicted on hate crimes charges increased 74% during the past four years over the previous four years.
- Handling more new voting cases in 2012 than any year ever, including critical cases defending the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
- Increasing the number of human trafficking prosecutions by 40 percent during the past four years, including a record number of cases in 2012.