Biden nominates Kristen Clarke for senior role at DOJ

Clarke was previously a federal prosecutor at the agency

President-elect Joe Biden campaigned on having a diverse Cabinet and his latest selections prove his commitment to that vow.

Biden nominated civil rights lawyer Kristen Clarke to serve as Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice. If confirmed by the Senate, Clarke’s role would involve ensuring civil liberties for all Americans.

Kristen Clarke
Kristen Clarke delivers remarks after being nominated to be civil rights division assistant attorney general by President-elect Joe Biden at The Queen Theater on Jan. 07, 2021, in Wilmington, Delaware. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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Clarke, who is in her mid-40’s and has a teenage son, is the daughter of Jamaican immigrants. She is currently president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee). She earned an A.B. from Harvard University and her J.D. from Columbia Law School.

An advocate for Black Lives Matter, Clarke is passionate about confronting discrimination and reforming the criminal justice system. She expressed how honored she was by the nomination and her desire to restore the DOJ to its stated mission of equal justice on Twitter.

“This job is about justice. It’s about equality. And under our DOJ, we’ll move closer to the TRUE meaning of equal justice under law,” she tweeted Thursday. “Honored to be nominated by @JoeBiden to serve as Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.

Clarke is no stranger to the DOJ. She began her career in the Civil Rights Division and was a federal prosecutor. Her chief responsibilities included overseeing cases of police misconduct, hate crimes, and human trafficking.

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Clarke also focused on voting rights and redistricting. It is an area of expertise she has also put to use at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

Kristen Clarke
Kristen Clarke has been nominated to be Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice (Credit: Clark)

Clarke appeared with Biden at the press conference announcing her nomination and emphasized her desire for the DOJ to serve all of the people.

“The clarion call of equal justice under law is what binds us together as a nation,” Clarke said.

The other DOJ nominees selected by Biden appeared with Clarke at the press conference. As theGrio reported, Judge Merrick Garland was nominated for Attorney General. His nomination as the nation’s top prosecutor comes five years after Republicans denied him a confirmation hearing to fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court after Justice Antonin Scalia‘s death.

Lisa Monaco was nominated for Deputy Attorney General and Vanita Gupta, who is Indian American, got the nod for Associate Attorney General.

Biden shared his expectations for the nominees.

“I want to be clear to those who lead this department who you will serve. You won’t work for me. You are not the president or the vice-president’s lawyer. Your loyalty is not to me,” Biden said.

“It’s to the law, the Constitution, the people of this nation, to guarantee justice.”

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