Every GOP Senator But One Votes Against Confirmation of Kristen Clarke, First Black Woman to Lead DOJ Civil Rights Division


In a 51-48 vote on Tuesday afternoon, the U.S. Senate confirmed Kristen Clarke as the assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice, making the longtime progressive legal advocate the first Black woman to lead the division founded in 1957.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) was the lone Republican senator to vote to confirm Clarke, who served for the past five years as the president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonprofit organization that advocates for equal justice.

Clarke’s colleagues at the Lawyers’ Committee celebrated Tuesday’s historic confirmation of the group’s former leader.

“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,” Damon Hewitt, acting president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee, said in a statement.

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“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,” Hewitt continued. “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.”

Hewitt added that Clarke “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.”