President Joe Biden additionally provided his congratulations to Clarke: “there’s nobody higher to steer the Justice Division’s Civil Rights Division,” he tweeted. “I do know she’ll work tirelessly to advance civil rights and push our nation nearer to our founding beliefs of liberty, justice, and equality for all.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee tweeted: ”Not solely is she eminently certified and the best particular person to advance our civil rights and restore credibility on the Division, she’s the primary Black lady to carry this position.”
The NAACP Authorized Protection and Instructional Fund wrote a letter in support of Clarke’s affirmation in April to Sens. Dick Durbin and Chuck Grassley. “Ms. Clarke was an esteemed member of the LDF employees fromMarch 2006 to August 2011. Throughout that point, she labored tirelessly to advance LDF’s mission, particularly within the areas of voting rights and political participation,” the Authorized Protection Fund mentioned within the letter. It echoed that sentiment after her affirmation.
“Throughout her tenure at LDF, Kristen Clarke litigated a few of our most necessary, high-profile voting rights circumstances, together with MUD v. Holder, which upheld the constitutionality of Part 5 of the (Voting Rights Act),” the protection fund wrote.
Part 5 of the Voting Rights Acts was established in 1965 to create a system used to resolve which states require preclearance from the USA District Courtroom for the District of Columbia to vary any factor associated to voting in a protected jurisdiction. Republicans are presently stalling reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act after they earlier pushed an effort the Supreme Courtroom supported to intestine core parts of the act in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder. Clarke wrote in 2013 that the choice “has confirmed to be some of the devastating rulings of the final decade … The impact of the opinion was to basically render Part 5 — which had been maybe the best civil rights provision of the fashionable period — inoperable.”
The Authorized Protection Fund applauded her intervention within the case. “The breadth and depth of Kristen Clarke’s work is unparalleled,” it tweeted. “Her litigation and advocacy expertise in essential civil rights points is precisely the form of management and experience wanted proper now on the Division of Justice.”
For Senate Republicans, nevertheless, stopping Clarke’s affirmation has apparently been of higher significance than affecting precise change. Sen. Ted Cruz and different Republicans circulated a quote from author Amiri Baraka and attributed it to Clarke just because she forwarded an e mail from Baraka in 1999. Within the e mail, Baraka referred to as police the Ku Klux Klan. And in one other failed effort to tarnish Clarke’s impeccable file, Sen. John Cornyn requested throughout her confirmation hearing if whereas a pupil at Harvard College, she had “argued that African Individuals had been genetically superior to ah [sic] Caucasians.”
Clarke responded: “No senator, I imagine you’re referring to an op-ed that I wrote on the age of 19 in regards to the Bell Curve Idea, a racist e-book that equated DNA with genetics and race. As a Black pupil at Harvard at the moment we took grave offense to this e-book. It was co-authored by a Harvard professor … And this op-ed opened with a satirical reference to the assertion that you just simply famous.
”What I used to be looking for to do is maintain up a mirror,” Clarke added, “and put one racist principle alongside one other to problem folks as to why we had been unwilling to wholly reject the racist principle that outlined the Bell Curve e-book.”
She mentioned throughout her affirmation listening to that she’s identified she wished to be a civil rights legal professional since highschool. “My journey to this listening to room right this moment might not be an apparent one,” she mentioned. “It began my junior yr of highschool, when a trainer loaded my classmates and me right into a van and drove us to a courthouse in Hartford, Connecticut, to listen to arguments in what turned out to be the landmark faculty desegregation case, Sheff v. O’Neill.”
Clarker added: “Because the daughter of Jamaican immigrants rising up humbly in Starrett Metropolis, the nation’s largest public housing complicated in Brooklyn, New York, I had by no means been inside a courtroom earlier than. That second was a robust show of the position civil rights legal professionals play in our society. I used to be mesmerized and deeply moved as I watched attorneys argue for extra simply and equitable academic alternatives. From that second on, I knew I wished to be a civil rights legal professional.”