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Confirmation Hearing Held for Kristen Clarke for Justice Department Civil Rights Chief

Thursday, April 15, 2021
Nikitra Bailey

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee this week heard testimony from Kristen Clarke, President Biden’s nomination for Justice Department Civil Rights Chief. Ms. Clarke, who appeared Wednesday during a 2 1/2-hour nomination hearing, is president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. She would be the first Black woman to hold the position since the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division was established in 1957.

Center for Responsible Lending Executive Vice President Nikitra Bailey issued the following statement:

Kristen Clarke’s upcoming confirmation vote comes as the country continues to grapple with social unrest. Just this week Daunte Wright was killed by the police in a traffic stop not too far from where Derek Chauvin’s trial is taking place for the murder of George Floyd, and we learn a member of the armed services was harassed and pepper sprayed by police officers for continuing to drive to a safe space. Hate crimes against Asian Americans continue to increase, multiple mass shootings continue to shake the nation, and ongoing efforts by state legislators to enact voter suppression laws would deny Black and brown people their fundamental right to vote.

Ms. Clarke’s experience as a Justice Department lawyer and as executive director of a lending civil rights organization not only qualifies her, but makes her the best candidate for this urgently needed position. She has spent decades championing civil rights for all Americans and has ceaselessly pursued equal justice through her tenacity in defending voting rights, fighting to help women mistreated in their jobs, and in her role as a Justice Department lawyer during the Bush Administration, where she prosecuted police brutality, hate crimes, and human trafficking cases.

As President of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Ms. Clarke has been an important partner working to curb predatory lending and in the fight for fair housing, including campaigns to stop the debt trap of payday lending and efforts to protect important fair housing/lending rules like the FHA’s disparate impact rule, which provides a standard for proving discrimination against protected groups, and a regulation for the dismantling of segregation, as required by the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing section of the Fair Housing Act.

We commend Ms. Clarke for her strong hearing testimony, where she successfully displayed how her life experiences led her to become a civil rights lawyer and public servant despite unwarranted attacks on her character. Congress must move to swiftly confirm Kirsten Clarke as both her personal and professional lives represent her unwavering commitment to achieving equal justice under law for all Americans.”

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Press Contact: matthew.kravitz@responsiblelending.org