Statement of NAACP Legal Defense Fund President and Director-Counsel Sherrilyn Ifill

“I have the greatest respect for Attorney General Lynch. She has been a courageous and powerful force for civil rights enforcement. Her first significant action after her swearing in was to travel personally to Baltimore to meet with city officials and community groups after the death of Freddie Gray at the hands of police. Perhaps we take for granted the significance of having the Attorney General visit Ferguson, as Eric Holder did, or Baltimore as Loretta Lynch did, but I can tell you that this kind of clear, unequivocal demonstration of engagement with hurting communities is critical to building trust in our justice system. 

“Her commitment in the area of voting rights has also been consistent with the standard set by Attorney General Holder. One of her most impressive initiatives is the decision to require implicit bias training for DOJ employees. Of course, we have from time to time disagreed. LDF opposes the death penalty in every instance. My biggest disappointment is the failure to complete and resolve the Eric Garner federal investigation before her departure. But in almost every area of civil rights – from prosecuting hate crimes to challenging housing, disability discrimination or violations of religious freedom, Attorney General Lynch set a high bar as the chief enforcer of the nation’s civil rights laws.”



Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.