Kristen Clarke Joins The Department Of Justice With Historic Confirmation

Kristen Clarke is the new leader of the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division. Clarke was confirmed by the United States Senate with a vote of 51-48 on Tuesday. Sen. Susan Collins was the lone Republican to express support for the attorney.

With this confirmation, Clarke makes history. She is the first Black woman to lead the civil rights division since it was formed in 1957.

Clarke's confirmation did not come without a fight. A number of Republican Senators attempted to depict Clarke as a "radical" and "leftist" attorney. Last month, Sen. Josh Hawley said that Clarke represents “a far-left radical agenda that’s out of step with the American public and certainly with our respective states."

“Kristen Clarke is a radical extremist with a laundry list of concerning issues plaguing her nomination that go far beyond her support for defunding the police,” Sen. Ted Cruz said earlier this month.

Despite characterizations made by Hawley and Cruz, Clarke appeared to be much more moderate than previously described. Contrary to Cruz's remarks, Clarke testified that she does not support the defund the police movement.

“I do not support defunding the police,” Clarke stated.

“I do support finding strategies to ensure that law enforcement can carry out their jobs more safely and effectively and channeling resources to emotional health treatment and other severely under-resourced areas.”

Senator Chuck Schumer said that Republicans spent too much time trying to “twist her words to make her sound like some radical.” Despite pushback, he and his Democratic colleagues accomplished their goal on the one-year anniversary that George Floyd was murdered.

“In a way, as we continue to pursue strong policing reform legislation, it is appropriate that we confirm Kristen Clarke, a proven civil rights leader, to the position of Assistant Attorney General, where she can continue the fight against bigotry in many ways,” Schumer said.

“It is appropriate we do it today.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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