The Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is targeting what it calls “non-criminal acts of bias” in communities and in private settings, according to remarks made Monday by Kristen Clarke, the head of the division.
Clarke told the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of West Virginia’s Civil Rights Symposium:
But prosecutions alone will not rid us of hate crimes. That is why the Justice Department is also hard at work addressing non-criminal acts of bias that rear their ugly head inside our schools, workplaces and in our neighborhoods. We are also addressing the need for hate crime prevention through education and awareness. This multi-part strategy is critical to eliminating hate, root and branch.
She did not specify what “non-criminal” bias the department was targeting, nor what statutory authority it had to do so.
Clarke’s division is currently resisting efforts to force the DOJ to reveal its strategic plan for using the federal government to intervene in the 2022 midterm elections, in pursuit of what the Biden administration calls “voter access.” She told the West Virginia gathering that the DOJ addressing what she called a “boom market in voter suppression across the country,” such as “discriminatory redistricting plans that dilute the voting strength of Black and other voters of color.” (Thus far in this cycle, it is Democratic gerrymandering in states such as New York and Maryland that has drawn the negative attention of the courts.)
In addition to listing several DOJ lawsuits against new voting laws in Republican-governed states, Clarke added:
Attorney General Garland has affirmed the department’s commitment to “ensuring that all eligible voters can cast a vote; that all lawful votes are counted; and that every voter has access to accurate information.” He pledged that, “The Department of Justice will never stop working to protect the democracy to which all Americans are entitled.”
Clarke’s nomination was opposed by Republicans across the board — from conservatives to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — for her past statements, including her left-wing rhetoric on race and religion and her criticism of police.