Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland was pressed to defend Justice Department-nominee Kristen Clarke, who once called Blacks superior, in a tense exchange during his own Senate confirmation hearing Monday.
"I'm a pretty good judge of what an anti-Semite is, and I do not believe she is an anti-Semite, and I do not believe that she is discriminatory in any sense," Garland fired at Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah.
Garland brought up Clarke's name on his own volition without being asked about her directly by the conservative senator.
"Would an individual's past statements as an adult declaring that one racial group is superior to another, would statements like that be relevant to an evaluation of whether such a person should be put in charge of running the Department of Justice's civil rights division?" Lee asked.
Clarke once wrote in a letter to the Harvard Crimson: "Black infants sit, stand, crawl and walk sooner than whites" and "Melanin endows Blacks with greater mental, physical, and spiritual abilities."
Clarke has rejected the criticism of the statements as having taken them out of context.
Clarke would lead Justice Department's civil rights division under Garland, if both are confirmed by the Senate. She would be at the forefront of police reform and other Biden priorities on civil rights reform and combating what Biden's administration believes is systemic racism in the United States.
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