Letter: Support the Confirmation Of Kristen Clarke To Be Assistant Attorney General For Civil Rights

[vc_row][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text]Dear Senator:
On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights – a coalition of more than 220
national organizations committed to promoting and protecting the civil and human rights of all persons in
the United States – and the 106 undersigned organizations, we write to express our strong support for the
confirmation of Kristen Clarke to serve as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the U.S.
Department of Justice (DOJ).
Ms. Clarke leads one of our nation’s premier civil rights organizations – the Lawyers’ Committee for
Civil Rights Under Law – and she has been a strong champion of civil rights throughout
her distinguished career. The Lawyers’ Committee is a member of The Leadership Conference on Civil
and Human Rights, and we have worked closely with Ms. Clarke during her tenure as the Lawyers’
Committee’s president and executive director. In that capacity, Ms. Clarke also served on the Board of
Directors for The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. It is because of her extensive civil
rights record and our close work with Ms. Clarke that we are confident that the Justice Department and
the nation would benefit tremendously from her leadership, knowledge, and experience. Ms. Clarke
would be the first woman in history to be confirmed by the Senate as Assistant Attorney General for Civil
Rights at the Justice Department.
Ms. Clarke has spent her entire 20-year career fighting for civil rights and racial justice. After graduating
from Harvard University and Columbia Law School, she was selected for the Attorney General’s Honors
Program and spent her first six years as a career attorney in the Civil Rights Division – the same office
she has now been nominated to lead. She worked in the Division’s Voting Section and handled voting
rights and redistricting cases, and she also worked in the Division’s Criminal Section, where she
prosecuted police misconduct and brutality cases, hate crimes, and human trafficking cases. Having
served as a career attorney in the Division, Ms. Clarke will bring a deep knowledge of the office’s
mission and the urgency of aggressively enforcing our nation’s federal civil rights laws.
In 2006, Ms. Clarke went to work for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), a
litigating organization that has helped lead the fight for racial justice in America for the past 80
years. Ms. Clarke helped lead LDF’s litigation on voting rights and election law, and she helped defend
the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act in federal court. In 2011, Ms. Clarke was appointed to head
the Civil Rights Bureau of the New York State Attorney General’s Office, where she led broad civil rights
enforcement on matters including criminal justice issues, police reform, education and housing
discrimination, fair lending, barriers to reentry, voting rights, immigrants’ rights, gender equality,
disability rights, reproductive rights, and LGBTQ equality.

In 2016, Ms. Clarke began her tenure as president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for
Civil Rights Under Law, one of the country’s largest and most important national civil rights
organizations dedicated to the pursuit of equal justice for all. The work of the Lawyers’ Committee has
always been critical, but never more so than over the past four years, when civil rights organizations have
had to take up the mantle of enforcing our federal civil rights laws in the absence of enforcement by
the Justice Department under the previous administration. Under Ms. Clarke’s leadership, the Lawyers’
Committee has served as an essential bulwark in defending civil rights when the Justice
Department refused to do so, working through litigation and legislative advocacy to fight hate and bias
and to protect and promote voting rights and elections, racial justice, economic justice, educational
opportunities, fair housing, criminal justice, digital justice, gender justice, and a fair and
accurate census. During her tenure, the organization filed more than 250 cases to safeguard civil rights
The breadth and scope of Ms. Clarke’s civil rights record is without parallel. Her substantial professional
accomplishments span from our nation’s leading civil rights organizations to federal and state government
service. Her extensive litigation experience and strong leadership skills are necessary to effectively lead
the Civil Rights Division today. Her experience defending access to the ballot is especially notable. She
has been involved in virtually all of the Voting Rights Act cases that have been brought in the modern era,
including Shelby County v. Holder.
Ms. Clarke is universally respected. In announcing his intent to nominate Ms. Clarke, President Biden
rightfully described her as “one of the most distinguished civil rights attorneys in America.”

Former U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin observed: “Kristen Clarke is a force of nature. She has been working
tirelessly, around the clock, morning, noon and night to ensure that all Americans share the same rights
and privileges as equal members of our society. Without her commitment, past, present and future we
would not be confident that this promise would be fulfilled. But with her leadership at the Department of
Justice, we can again believe in a just future.”

Sherrilyn Ifill, the president and director-counsel of LDF,
noted: “Ms. Clarke has led one of the country’s most important civil rights organizations, including its
national Election Protection voter protection coalition, which has helped to protect the vote and ensure
access to the ballot box for millions of voters. Ms. Clarke will undoubtedly understand the priorities
needed for the division at this critical moment.” And Sheila Katz, CEO of the National Council of Jewish
Women, said: “as the leader of one of this country’s most important civil rights organizations, Kristen
Clarke has devoted her life to the pursuit of equal justice for all. Her efforts to combat discrimination
throughout her career have helped to strengthen our democracy.”

President Biden made an outstanding choice in nominating Kristen Clarke to be the Assistant Attorney
General for Civil Rights, and we urge the Senate to confirm Ms. Clarke as quickly as possible. The
Civil Rights Division is in desperate need of a course correction, and Ms. Clarke is an ideal person
to right the ship.


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