On requiring numerical goals for hiring minorities and women:

Nobody in this administration that I know of is opposed to affirmative action. As a matter of fact, I think that probably we are greater advocates of affirmative action than almost any administration that's come along and I personally am absolutely committed to affirmative action. But I'm equally opposed to discrimination. And whatever form discrimination takes I think that is a violation of the Constitution, as well as a violation of the statutes and a violation of court decisions . . . . Numerical goals and discrimination based on numerical goals is wrong.

On why critics have faulted the Reagan administration's civil rights policies:

I think they don't understand them . . . . How many of them, how many of the people who have this perception actually know what the administration's policies are? How many people who may have commented on the subject really know what our civil rights record is? How many know what the statistical picture of our enforcement record is? Because it does stand second to none . . . .

I would defy you to find anyone in Washington who is more committed to the protection of civil rights than I am . . . .

I think that you have some people who don't know. I think you have some people who have their own vested interest. And I think you have some people who have political reasons . . . . I think that any time you have an administration such as ours which is trying to change the way that government operates so that it more accurately reflects mainstream political thinking in this country, you're going to have some people who have a vested interest who are going to be upset with you.

On the rejection of William Bradford Reynolds' nomination for associate attorney general:

I think that it's a tragedy that he was so unfairly treated by the Senate. And I think it's a mark of his strength of character and his tremendous statesmanship that he is willing to continue as the head of the Civil Rights Division, where he'll be the point person of this administration on that topic.

On the FBI's mixed results with the use of criminal informants:

You have a few cases that get a great deal of notoriety, and you have to put those into perspective with the literally hundreds of cases handled every year by the FBI. And remember, it's the most difficult cases that require various undercover techniques. But in most cases, these work out successfully and they work out well.

On recent Supreme Court decisions on church-state relations:

Perhaps it would help to get a clear direction if they went back to the basic principles that were inherent in the First Amendment originally, which was developed to prevent the establishment of religion, i.e., providing for an official religion or in effect discriminating in favor of one religious belief versus the others. But at no time was there any suggestion of a hostility toward religion in general . . . . I think there is a confusion on the part of the court between freedom of religion and hostility toward religion.