“Kristen Clarke is the first Senate-confirmed woman of color to lead the Justice Dept.’s civil rights division.”


Ms. Clarke was confirmed by a vote of 51 to 48, largely along party lines. Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, broke with her party to support Ms. Clarke’s confirmation. Senator John Kennedy, Republican of Louisiana, did not vote.

A number of Republicans took to the Senate floor to argue Ms. Clarke supported reducing police department budgets. But Ms. Collins said that she believed that Ms. Clarke would not support such efforts, after studying Ms. Clark’s professional record, including her work as a prosecutor during the George W. Bush administration.

Ms. Collins said that Ms. Clarke gave her a letter saying she was “committed to to ensuring that law enforcement officers have the resources that they need.”

The daughter of Jamaican immigrants who rose from a Brooklyn housing project to earn degrees from Harvard and Columbia Law School, Ms. Clarke is best known as a leading advocate for voting rights protections. Her expertise will make her a key player in the administration’s effort to push back on laws that could restrict access to the ballot box.

During her confirmation hearing, Ms. Clarke, 46, said that she would use all of the tools at her disposal, including the Voting Rights Act, the National Voter Registration Act and the Uniformed and Overseas Absentee Citizens Voting Act, to ensure that eligible Americans continued to have the right to vote.

Share this: