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National Civil Rights Group Condemns Former AG Jeff Sessions's Memo Restricting Use of Consent Decrees

One of Sessions's Final Actions Was Intended to Impair the Government's Ability to Resolve Disputes, Especially in Civil Rights Context

WASHINGTON - The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law issued a statement in response to a November 7, 2018 memo signed by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions imposing a range of burdensome and unnecessary restrictions intended to significantly limit the Justice Department's use of consent decrees:

"From day one, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions expressed open and naked hostility to the use of consent decrees, especially in the civil rights context," said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. "Sessions sought to obstruct consent decrees with the Chicago and Baltimore Police Departments, even though the law enforcement agencies had fully agreed to the negotiated terms. Consent decrees serve as an important tool for resolving conflicts without subjecting the parties to long, protracted and costly litigation. The Justice Department has used consent decrees to address major civil rights violations including unconstitutional and systemic police misconduct, discrimination by school districts, housing authorities, public employers and more. Consent decrees reflect mutually-acceptable terms between the government and a third party.  This action by Sessions, on his way out the door, seals his legacy as an obstructionist when it comes to advancing justice and protecting rights in our country."

A copy of Attorney General Jeff Sessions's November 7th memo can be found here:


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The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. The principal mission of the Lawyers' Committee is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice under law.

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