Today, a White House official stated that President Biden would veto a resolution of disapproval, voted out of the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday, that seeks to strike down a locally enacted police accountability measure in Washington D.C. The resolution, H.J. Res. 42, would overrule the District’s Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Amendment Act of 2022 (CPJRAA), which enacted police transparency and accountability measures for the city, not unlike those in President Biden’s Executive Order, Advancing Effective, Accountable Policing and Criminal Justice Practices to Enhance Public Trust and Public Safety.
In response, LDF President and Director-Counsel Janai S. Nelson issued the following statement:
“We are pleased to see President Biden’s unequivocal commitment to veto H.J. Res. 42, should it pass. Washington D.C.’s CPJRAA is an essential, common-sense measure, to begin addressing the institutional issues that drive continued police violence that disproportionately harms Black people and other people of color in the city and across the country. The provisions of the CPJRAA, including a ban on the use of neck restraints, and limitations on the use of military grade weapons, are similar to measures proposed by the President himself in an Executive Order to advance effective, accountable policing and strengthen public safety. Most importantly, they reflect the work of District community members who have long been pushing for police accountability — and whose wishes H.J. Res. 42 would overrule.
“While the targeted bills aimed to accomplish different things, the goal behind H.J. Res. 42 and an earlier resolution of disapproval (H.J. Res. 26), recently signed into law by President Biden and striking down the District’s Revised Criminal Code Act of 2022, is the same: to overturn the choices of District residents. Today’s White House announcement indicates that the president will not participate in the increasingly troubling efforts of legislatures to override the democratic will of majority-Black localities — and in this case specifically, Washington D.C.’s autonomy.”
Founded in 1940, the Legal Defense Fund (LDF) is the nation’s first civil rights law organization. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Please note that LDF 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.