The NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. (LDF) congratulates the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (LCCRUL) on selecting Kristen Clarke as its President and Executive Director. LDF and LCCRUL have worked collaboratively for decades to promote racial justice in the courts and the halls of Congress, particularly around ensuring full political participation for communities of color, and we look forward to continuing that partnership under Ms. Clarke’s leadership.
In the ongoing struggle to advance civil rights and racial justice, thoughtful leadership in key civil rights organizations is essential. Clarke’s experience in voting rights, election law, criminal law and civil rights will undoubtedly serve the organization and the greater civil rights community. Clarke has held positions with LDF, the Civil Rights Bureau at the New York Attorney General’s Office and the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. She served as a trial attorney in the Voting Section of the Division and worked as a Federal Prosecutor in the Criminal Section of the Division where she handled a range of police misconduct, police brutality, hate crimes, human trafficking and obstruction matters.
Clarke had a five-year tenure at LDF, starting as an Assistant Counsel and eventually becoming Co-Director of the Political Participation Group where she oversaw and coordinated the legal program in the areas of voting rights and election law. In 2009, as part of the LDF legal team, Clarke assisted in successfully defending the Voting Rights Act against a constitutional challenge in one of the most important civil rights cases to come before the U.S. Supreme Court: Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District No. One v. Holder. That case upheld the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act and involved collaboration among a number of local and national organizations. While at LDF, Clarke was also instrumental in advocating for the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act in 2006.
“At LDF, where Kristen led our voting rights work, we knew her as a brilliant and strategic thinker and litigator. Since then, she has showed tremendous creativity and innovation in heading the Civil Rights Bureau in the New York Attorney General’s office. We can think of no better partner for LDF to have as we face the next challenges in civil rights. Kristen is a consensus builder and universally beloved by all those who work with her,” says Sherrilyn Ifill, LDF President and Director-Counsel.
Clarke succeeds veteran civil rights leader Barbara Arnwine, who served at the helm of LCCRUL for two and a half decades and will be missed in that role. We look forward to continued collaboration with LCCRUL under Clarke’s leadership and wish her every success in her new position.