National Press Club

Headliners Newsmaker featuring former asst. attorneys general, Sept. 7

August 21, 2017 | By Jamie Horwitz |

White supremacists march through a southern city. The federal courts are hearing cases involving issues of voting rights and discrimination. Is it 1965 or 2017?

Former assistant attorneys general from both Republican and Democratic administrations plan to appear at a National Press Club Headliners Newsmaker event on Thursday, Sept. 7, at 10 a.m. in the Club’s Fourth Estate to discuss the federal government’s role in protecting civil rights.

This Headliners Newsmaker event is open to credentialed media and Club members free of charge, with advance registration required. Please click here to register.

This is the 60th anniversary of the creation of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. The four panelists who each led the division plan to look at what progress has been made since 1957 and what the Civil Rights Division under President Donald Trump should be doing.

Speaking at the Newsmaker news conference:

  • Stephen J. Pollak served as assistant attorney general for civil rights from 1965-1969 during the Johnson administration before becoming a lawyer in private practice. Today, he serves as a director of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
  • Stan Pottinger led the Civil Rights Division from 1970-77 during both the Nixon and Ford administrations. He later became an investment banker, novelist and lawyer in private practice. In 2013, he was a signatory to an amicus curiae brief submitted to the Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage.
  • John Dunne served as a state senator in New York for 24 years prior to becoming the assistant attorney general from 1990-93 during the George H.W. Bush administration. Today, he practices law in New York.
  • Vanita Gupta was appointed to lead the Civil Rights Division by President Barack Obama in 2014, where she remained until January of this year. Currently, she is the president and chief executive officer of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.