The LDF— our nation’s oldest civil rights legal organization—has been involved with many of the biggest police brutality cases of our time: Baltimore, Ferguson and Charleston, among others. The group is currently colitigant (with the Department of Justice) in a landmark case against the state of Texas, alleging unconstitutional voter ID laws. They are also involved in dozens of school desegregation cases still being litigated throughout the South, and much much more. All this work predates the election—and most of it was done alongside the Justice Department’s civil rights division.
It’s likely this alliance is about to crater. Under Obama, the DOJ proved itself a capable and willing watchdog, uncovering massive systemic bias in the Ferguson Police Department, along with many other injustices. But now, with controversial attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions potentially leading the DOJ, Ifill is geared up for battle. Sessions is a law-and-order nominee with a strong pro-police bent and an oppositional history with civil rights advocates. Ifill says there are indications Sessions will back Trump’s sketchier agenda items.
“The DOJ is lead counsel in many of the desegregation cases, and co-counsel on our Texas voter ID case. We’re faced with the prospect of losing their counsel, or even having it turned against us,” she says. “On top of all the civil rights cases we’re already involved in, it looks like we may have to become the private Department of Justice.”
Read the full article here.