Sessions Rolls Back Civil Rights Enforcement For Minority Communities -- Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Says

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Attorney General Sessions. Photo Gage Skidmore--Flickr

Report Finds Rollbacks on Civil Rights Enforcement Under Sessions

Civil Rights enforcement under Attorney General Jeff Sessions have been rolled back, according to a report evaluating Attorney General Jeff Sessions' first 100 days by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

The report released Friday is the first in a series by the Lawyers’ Committee entitled “Where Is Justice” evaluating the Department’s work—or lack thereof—on key civil rights matters. “The rapid downward trajectory of civil rights enforcement under United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions in his first 100 days in office cannot be ignored," Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director of Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law said in a statement. "Attorney General Sessions has shown a disregard for minority communities that rely on the Justice Department to protect their rights and enforce key civil rights laws on issues ranging from voting rights, policing reform and criminal justice.  The Lawyers’ Committee will continue to press the Attorney General to do his job and enforce our nation’s federal civil rights laws and urge Congress and the public to remain vigilant in providing oversight of this important federal agency.”

Congressman Cedric Richmond (D-La.), Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee in January to speak against the nomination of Attorney General Sessions.  Reflecting on the first 100 days, Congressman Richmond said: “In his first 100 days, the Attorney General has demonstrated an indifference to the unique plight of the black community vis-a-vis our criminal justice system and a hostility to taking action to curb unconstitutional policing where it exists.  This report is an important contribution to holding this Department of Justice accountable.”

In its report, the Lawyers’ Committee notes that Attorney General Sessions “has sought to reverse important progress made in recent years to bring fairness to the criminal justice system and protect the most vulnerable among us.” 

In his first 100 days, Attorney General Sessions has: Revoked a 2016 directive aimed at phasing out the use of private prisons; Called for the review of all existing and pending consent decrees concerning policing reform; Issued a directive to prosecutors that threatens to reignite a “War on Drugs”; Abandoned a long-held position in a voting rights case concerning a discriminatory and restrictive photo ID law in Texas; Taken actions that marginalize immigrant communities; and, stood silent in the wake of the spike in hate crimes across the country.


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