Read a PDF of our statement here.

Today, the United States Senate voted to confirm Kristen Clarke as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the Department of Justice (DOJ). Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), issued the following statement regarding Clarke’s confirmation:

“The confirmation of Kristen Clarke as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights is momentous and deeply significant. Ms. Clarke, a former LDF attorney and lifelong civil rights lawyer, is supremely qualified for this position. Her highly distinguished career as an attorney working on myriad civil rights issues – including voting rights and election protection and educational equity — makes her the ideal choice to take the helm of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division at this critical time. Her intellect, integrity, legal acumen, and commitment to civil rights are exactly what is needed to open a new chapter for the beleaguered Division.

“Ms. Clarke’s confirmation is a groundbreaking one. She is the first woman — and first Black woman — to be confirmed to lead the Civil Rights Division. She is also the fifth LDF alum to serve as leader of the Civil Rights Division. We are thrilled to celebrate this historic moment alongside Ms. Clarke and look forward to working with her and the entire DOJ leadership team as they undertake imperative civil rights enforcement work.

“Indeed, now that the DOJ’s leadership team is fully installed, we anticipate the Civil Rights Division will once again prioritize its stated purpose of upholding ‘the civil and constitutional rights of all Americans’. This restoration of the division’s long-held duty is urgently needed amid relentless threats to and infringements on rights and equality in this country — especially in the areas of voting and protester rights and protection from white supremacist violence. We are encouraged that the department is in capable hands and comprised of individuals immediately ready to carry out this vital work.”


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.