Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

No Corporate Advertising. No Selling Out. We Rely Instead on Many Small Donations From Readers Like You.

Donald Trump is out of the White House. COVID-19 is fading, at least in wealthier nations. The world, they say, is returning to “normal.” That’s the narrative that the corporate media is selling. But there’s a problem: “normal” is destroying our planet, threatening our democracies, concentrating massive wealth in a tiny elite, and leaving billions of people without access to life-saving vaccines amid a deadly pandemic. Here at Common Dreams, we refuse to accept any of this as “normal” or acceptable. Common Dreams just launched our Mid-Year Campaign to make sure we have the funding we need to keep the progressive, independent journalism of Common Dreams alive. Whatever you can afford—no amount is too large or too small—please donate today to support our nonprofit, people-powered journalism and help us meet our goal.

Please select a donation method:

For Immediate Release

Contact

Press Release

Historic Day, Historic Nominee: Kristen Clarke Becomes the First Woman Confirmed to Lead the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice

Outgoing leader of the National Lawyers' Committee was confirmed by a bipartisan majority of the U.S. Senate on Tuesday.
WASHINGTON -

In a historic vote that shattered another glass ceiling and swept in a new era of civil rights priorities at the highest levels of the federal government, the U.S. Senate voted on Tuesday afternoon to confirm Kristen Clarke as the assistant attorney general for civil rights. Clarke is the first woman confirmed to lead the division and first Black woman to ever lead the division in any capacity. 

“With today’s confirmation of Kristen Clarke as assistant attorney general for civil rights, civil rights enforcement will once again be a top priority for the Department of Justice. All people nationwide can be confident that we now have a civil rights leader who will enforce federal laws that protect us from discrimination and defend constitutional rights,” said Damon Hewitt, acting president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “Having known Kristen for more than two decades and most recently serving as her top deputy, I know she is exactly the person we need at this moment when threats to civil rights have peaked. She has extensive experience protecting the fundamental right to vote and prosecuting hate crimes, and is a proven consensus builder who will be pushing institutions to change while making them stronger. Kristen’s work will help to make the promise of equal justice for all a reality.”

Clarke has an extraordinary record of protecting civil rights. For nearly 20 years, she has worked at our nation’s leading civil rights legal and advocacy organizations, and led the Civil Rights Bureau at the New York Attorney General’s office. For the past nearly six years, Clarke has led the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, during which time the organization filed more than 250 lawsuits to protect voting rights, advance equal educational opportunity, defend victims of hate crimes, support fair housing, and defied modern-day segregation. 

Clarke has a track record of securing justice for all, and her experience in various prosecutorial offices makes her day one ready to lead the Civil Rights Division. She enjoys broad support across the civil rights, legal, business, and religious communities, and some of our nation’s largest law enforcement groups have backed her nomination. Today’s bipartisan vote of confirmation showcases her qualifications and the confidence our nation has in her. 

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law also has been at the forefront of the movement to secure equal justice for all. During the 2020 election cycle, the national Lawyers’ Committee filed 50 lawsuits to expand access to the ballot box, challenging nearly every restriction that would have disproportionately affected the ability of Black Americans and other communities of color to vote. The national Lawyers’ Committee is the only civil rights organization to be involved with all four of the active cases that are attacking affirmative action and racial diversity in higher education. The organization also has spearheaded the effort to hold the Proud Boys accountable for their vandalism of a historic Black church in Washington, D.C.—even before their role in the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Beyond legal work, the national Lawyers’ Committee also engages in significant advocacy efforts. The organization leads the national 866-OUR-VOTE Election Protection Hotline, which helped nearly 250,000 voters access the ballot box in 2020. And, has helped to advance significant pieces of legislation, including the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and the For the People Act. Beyond that, the organization is an active watchdog in the area of criminal justice, advancing police accountability and consistently rooting out and holding states and localities accountable for creating modern day debtors’ prisons that contributes to mass incarceration.

All of this work was heavily influenced by Clarke’s nearly six years of leadership and her commitment to securing equal justice for all. At the Department of Justice, she will bring the same tenacity and persistence that has guided her throughout her professional career.

###

The Lawyers’ Committee is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to enlist the private bar’s leadership and resources in combating racial discrimination and the resulting inequality of opportunity – work that continues to be vital today.

Leaked IPCC Draft Climate Report 'Reads Like a 4,000-Page Indictment' of Humanity's Failure

"This is a warning of existential risk. Of survival. Of collapse," said Extinction Rebellion.

Andrea Germanos, staff writer ·


Documents Show Saudi Operatives Who Murdered Khashoggi Received Paramilitary Training in US

"America training death squads will come as a huge shock to anyone who's never heard of the past 245 years of U.S. history."

Jake Johnson, staff writer ·


'We Are the Workers': Socialist India Walton Declares Victory in Buffalo Mayoral Race

"We do the work," the Democrat said after her primary win. "And we deserve a government that works with and for us."

Julia Conley, staff writer ·


Sanders Rips GOP for Remaining 'Loyal to the Big Lie,' Says Filibuster Must Be Abolished

"Not a single Republican in the United States Senate has the courage to even debate whether we should protect American democracy or not."

Jake Johnson, staff writer ·


'The Filibuster Must Go': Senate GOP Blocks Debate on Voting Rights Bill

"Democrats in the Senate can have a functional democracy or the filibuster, but not both."

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·