Tags: Biden Administration | kristen clarke | joe biden

Biden's Civil Rights Nominee Clarke Says She Does Not Support Defunding Police

Biden's Civil Rights Nominee Clarke Says She Does Not Support Defunding Police
Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division nominee Kristen Clarke speaks during an event with President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del., Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Wednesday, 14 April 2021 01:53 PM

Kristen Clarke, President Joe Biden's nominee to lead the Justice Department's civil rights division, told lawmakers on Wednesday she does not support defunding the police, and she pledged to work closely with law enforcement to find common ground.

"I do not support defunding the police," she said in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee for her confirmation hearing.

"I can assure this committee that if confirmed, I will bring along experience that I have of working to find common ground with law enforcement to this role."

Clarke, a former Justice Department civil rights attorney who recently led the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, appeared for her confirmation hearing along with Todd Kim, the administration's pick for assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division.

Kim is a former Justice Department attorney, a former solicitor general for the District of Columbia and he was a onetime contestant on a spinoff of the TV game show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?"

If confirmed by the Senate, they will be assuming their posts at a critical time in history.

The nation has seen a rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans during the pandemic, while Republican-led legislatures in some states are advancing bills that critics say would disenfranchise Black voters, and criminal justice reform advocates are urging a wide range of reforms.

The Biden administration has also vowed to tackle environmental racial justice amid concerns that air and water pollution more often tend to hurt minority communities.

Clarke's testimony is expected to dominate the hearing, after right-leaning groups and media began launching attacks against her a month after she was nominated.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill., in his opening remarks on Wednesday, called accusations that Clarke is anti-police "false" and claims by her attackers that she is anti-Semitic "absurd."

"Ms. Clarke has been a strong defender of human rights," he said.

Ranking Republican Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said he has "no doubt Ms. Clarke is a capable attorney" but he has concerns about her record, including statements she wrote in an op-ed last summer advocating for defunding the police.

Clarke said on Wednesday that the op-ed was intended to convey the opposite view, and that the piece was advocating for finding better strategies to make it easier for law enforcement to be more effective by "channeling resources to emotional health treatment and other severely under-resourced areas."

© 2021 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


Politics
Kristen Clarke, President Joe Biden's nominee to lead the Justice Department's civil rights division, told lawmakers on Wednesday she does not support defunding the police...
kristen clarke, joe biden
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2021-53-14
Wednesday, 14 April 2021 01:53 PM
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