EDITORIAL: Perez’s positions give pause

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Sometimes there is more than one good reason for a slowdown. That’s the case when it comes to Thomas E. Perez, the nominee to head the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

Mr. Perez is the Maryland secretary of labor. His resume — two graduate degrees from Harvard University and a previous staff role in the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department — looks solid on paper. But several published reports have said that Republicans have slowed Mr. Perez’s nomination in protest of the Obama administration’s dismissal of already-won voter-intimidation cases against agents of the New Black Panther Party. Those reports may or may not be entirely accurate. Either way, that’s not the only reason to hesitate before confirming Mr. Perez.

Mr. Perez’s record involves more than just his curriculum vitae. He has served as president of the board of CASA de Maryland, an immigrant-advocacy organization known for taking several rather extreme positions. For instance, CASA has fought against keeping illegal immigrants from getting state drivers’ licenses. Mr. Perez himself has supported efforts to grant in-state tuition rates to undocumented immigrants. And he has been a strong proponent of giving preferential treatment to members of some races or ethnicities in admissions to schools to train health professionals.

On that latter point, Mr. Perez argued that racial preferences could be used not just for “remedial” purposes — not just to make up for past discrimination — but to meet other social objectives as well.

Perhaps none of these positions individually is so radical as to be disqualifying. But for a division already being turned by the Obama administration into a veritable hotbed for providing legal cover for racial grievances, Mr. Perez’s cornucopia of leftist positions should give senators pause. He should not be confirmed without a full and open airing of all these issues.

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