Feminist organizations are jointly demanding the Senate’s endorsement of Kristen Clarke for the DOJ, saying that her nomination comes at a crucial time.
Nearly three months into President Biden’s first term, some of his cabinet candidates are still facing racist and sexist resistance from Republican senators. In particular, Kristen Clarke, Biden’s nominee for Assistant Attorney General in the Department of Civil Rights at the Department of Justice, has been caught in an unnecessarily lengthy verification process.
On Wednesday, Clarke will finally appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee for her confirmation hearing. In anticipation of this, 56 feminist organizations have come together to stand behind her and ask the Senate to confirm her appointment.
If confirmed, Clarke will become the first woman to head the civil rights division and the first black woman to ever hold that position. Your previous experience with civil rights will be crucial in addressing issues such as criminal justice reform, the right to vote and access to reproductive health care.
The letter – signed by organizations such as the Feminist Majority Foundation, editor of Ms. MomsRising; NARAL Pro-Choice America; the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF); the National Women’s Rights Center; Proposed Parenthood Federation of America; and TIME’S UP Now – shows Clarke’s strong support within the feminist community.
It underscores Clarke’s unique experience in many areas of civil rights, saying, “Her deep understanding of the intersecting forms of structural discrimination and the real implications of the law enables her to uniquely incorporate diverse interests in addressing the pressing civil rights challenges of our time . “
We need to confirm @KristenClarkeJD to run the Civil Rights Division asap. She has a long history in prosecuting hate crimes and has launched the @ LawyersComm Stop Hate Project to tackle increased incidents of hate and bigotry across the country. She is the leader we need right now in history. https://t.co/p4EqarBePM
– Leslie Proll (@LeslieProll) February 12, 2021
It also underscores the urgency of Clarke’s appointment. Under the Trump administration, the Justice Department worked to undermine non-discrimination policies, targeting immigrants and other marginalized groups. The letter now reads: “The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Department desperately needs strong leadership to restore confidence and credibility to this agency, and Ms. Clarke is precisely the staunch civil rights advocate to undo the damage and restore it Trauma the division inflicted on the color communities. “
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The full text of the letter reads:
Dear Chairman Durbin and Ranking Member Grassley:
We write in the name of 56 gender equality; reproductive health, rights and justice; and anti-violence organizations that have strongly partnered to confirm Kristen Clarke as assistant attorney general for the Department of Civil Rights at the Department of Justice. The Civil Rights Division (the Division) is responsible for enforcing federal laws that are paramount to women, girls, and anyone exposed to discrimination. Appointing the head of this department is a top priority for our communities. The Division oversees the litigation areas, including the Labor Disputes Division, which deals with gender discrimination cases under Title VII. the Educational Opportunities Department, where Title IX claims are made; and the Criminal Investigation Department, which handles cases covered by the Free Access to Hospital Entrance Act (FACE) and prosecutes hate crimes. The department also covers other important areas of gender equality, such as: B. Disability rights, voting rights, immigration as well as housing and civil law enforcement. With an unprecedented range of civil rights litigation and leadership, Ms. Clarke is the right person to lead the division at this critical point.
With over 20 years of experience promoting equality in state and federal civil rights agencies and national civil rights organizations, Ms. Clarke will bring much-needed skills, knowledge and expertise to the Department of Justice’s leadership team. Ms. Clarke is very familiar with the department she is expected to lead when she began her career in the Civil Rights Department pursuing police misconduct, police brutality, hate crimes and voting rights cases. She later led the voting rights and suffrage work of the NAACP Legal Protection and Education Fund, where she defended the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act in a federal court. She then headed the Civil Rights Bureau for the New York Public Prosecutor’s Office, where she worked on comprehensive civil rights enforcement issues in the areas of criminal justice, education and housing discrimination, fair lending, re-entry barriers, voting rights and immigrant rights overseen, gender inequality, rights of People with disabilities, access to reproductive health care and discrimination based on LGBTQ. Most recently, Ms. Clarke was the executive director of the Civil Rights Lawyers’ Committee, one of the most respected civil rights organizations in the country committed to ensuring equal justice for all. Under her command, the organization has been at the forefront of fighting the rise in hate crime and white supremacy, halting rampant voter suppression in the face of a pandemic, and holding law enforcement officers accountable for violating the rights of peaceful Black Lives Matters protesters defend racial diversity policies in higher education and combat attempts to eradicate discriminatory effects on fair housing. Ms. Clarke’s extensive experience in nearly every area of civil rights prepares her on day one to face the injustices and injustices of the most vulnerable communities.
Ms. Clarke’s work on racial justice also focused on combating discrimination, which particularly affected women and girls of the same color. Through the New York Attorney General’s Civil Rights Bureau, she led a groundbreaking investigation into gender equality and sexual harassment against a large corporation that resulted in a multi-million dollar employee settlement fund. In addition, under her leadership, the Advocacy Committee expanded its partnerships in the field of gender equality efforts. She worked on litigation calling for data to be collected on equal pay, supported trans women and girls in schools, questioned the harmful rules on sexual harassment under Title IX, opposed a rule that would block access to birth control , and made sure that jobs are free from discrimination. Ms. Clarke also successfully represented the President of the American Student Union, Taylor Dumpson, who was involved in an online troll storm because of her race and gender, in her case against neo-Nazi website Daily Caller. In her most recent testimony to that committee, she particularly focused on issues that disproportionately affect women of skin color, including “the right to be free from discrimination in work and residence and the right to privacy, including contraception and abortion”. Her deep understanding of the overlapping forms of structural discrimination and the real impact of the law enables her to uniquely incorporate diverse interests in addressing the pressing civil rights challenges of our time.
Kristen Clarke’s nomination comes at a crucial time. Under the Trump administration, the Department of Justice’s civil rights division defied its core mission of protecting and enforcing the legal rights of all people in America, instead scapegoating immigrants and color communities and defending a litany of unconstitutional litigation. The Justice Department argued that the Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional, a move opposed by former DOJ officials and legal scholars who defended unconstitutional restrictions on abortion. It was the driving force behind the cruel and unjust politics that separated immigrant children from their parents at the border. It has overridden the rule of law and promoted discrimination in schools, workplaces and healthcare. allowed rampant suppression of voters; and otherwise weakened protection of civil rights. The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division desperately needs strong leadership to restore confidence and credibility to that agency, and Ms. Clarke is precisely the time-honored civil rights advocate to end the damage and trauma the division has inflicted on the communities of undo color.
Ms. Clarke is the very accomplished civil rights attorney who will support the enforcement of civil rights and ensure equal justice for all. Kristen Clarke has an excellent reputation among citizens and the gender justice community. She has worked on a wide variety of topics, from religious freedom to criminal justice to discrimination in housing, workplaces, and healthcare. In addition, Ms. Clarke’s endorsement of this position would be historic as she would be the first woman to be confirmed in this role and the first black woman to ever hold that position. Their lived experiences and unparalleled commitment to civil rights make them unique in rooting out hatred and discrimination. At a time when this country is reckoning with its deeply entrenched institutional racism and sexism, Ms. Clarke’s leadership in the Justice Department is urgently needed to begin the hard work to eradicate these systemic inequalities.
Kristen Clarke is an exceptional candidate for Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Civil Rights at the Department of Justice. We urge the committee to swiftly approve your nomination.
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