Read a PDF of our statement here.

Today, the United States Senate voted to confirm Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council for Racial Justice and Equity Catherine Lhamon as Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education.

In response to Ms. Lhamon’s confirmation, Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), issued the following statement:

“We are pleased that Catherine Lhamon has been confirmed as Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. Throughout her career in public service — from her time as an attorney at the ACLU of Southern California to her work as Chair of the United States Commission on Civil Rights and her most recent efforts as Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council for Racial Justice and Equity — Ms. Lhamon has proved herself to be an unwavering advocate for civil rights.”  

“At a time when the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is in serious need of strong and principled leadership, we have no doubt that Ms. Lhamon, who previously served in the role from 2013 to 2017, will ensure that OCR fulfills its role as a check on discrimination in schools and a defender of students’ civil rights.

“As the OCR continues to grapple with various incidents of discrimination, Ms. Lhamon’s civil rights background and experience will greatly benefit the nation’s most vulnerable students. We look forward to working with Ms. Lhamon to ensure that the civil rights of all students are protected and that all students have equal access to a high-quality education.”


Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. 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. 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 NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Follow LDF on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.