Kristen Clarke is making history as she was confirmed by the Senate on Tuesday (May 25) to head the Department of Justice’s civil rights division, making her the first woman to formally serve in the post.
A longtime civil rights lawyer, Clarke earned the appointment after a fight by Democrats and Republicans on her record during confirmation. The controversy largely arose from how she would try to enforce civil rights laws and investigate police forces.
According to Yahoo news, Clarke’s confirmation vote was largely along party lines, with his nomination being approved by 51–48 votes. Senator Susan Collins of Maine was the only Republican to join all Democrats and Independents in the vote to confirm the 46-year-old.
Democrats are excited by the news of Clarke’s confirmation. He says that Clarke’s two-decade career as a civil rights lawyer made him uniquely qualified to head the former Atty’s unit. General Eric H. Holder Jr. has been described as the agency’s “crown jewel”.
Clarke will now be in charge of an office that has more than 350 lawyers and will be instrumental in the Biden administration’s efforts to enforce civil rights and voting rights laws and investigate rogue police forces.
The vote came on the one-year anniversary of the death of George Floyd, a black man killed by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who led a nationwide protest in the wake of the tragedy.