Biden is set to erase 4 years of Trump's abysmal record at the Justice Department
To say the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice is about pivot under the leadership of President-elect Joe Biden is an understatement. The beleaguered division is about to go through a dramatic overhaul after suffering through four years of Donald Trump's white supremacy agenda.
Enforcing anti-discrimination laws in housing, education, and the workplace will once again be at the forefront of the division's priorities. According to Bloomberg News, the agenda will also include a push toward better local policing after a succession of instances over the past several years in which people of color have died at the hands of police, sparking protests and unrest. Specifically, the division will likely return to reviewing local police departments for discriminatory practices that perpetuate systemic racism, an initiative that was entirely abandoned under Trump.
"This will be an even bigger pivot because of what the Trump administration represents," said Vanita Gupta, who led the division under Obama and now heads up the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. "It's been a kind of systematic erosion of civil rights enforcement that is unlike anything we've seen in recent times or recent administrations."
The Trump-era Justice Department marked an outright betrayal of the original mission of the division, which originated in 1957 as part of the Civil Rights Act with the specific intention of enforcing laws that newly prohibited bias on the basis of race, color, sex, disability, religion, and national origin. But under the disgraceful leadership of Trump's attorneys general, the division has been wielded as a weapon targeting disadvantaged minorities. The Justice Department sued to protect white students from alleged discrimination in admissions; it all but abandoned protecting the voting rights of minorities; it took aim at sanctuary cities that bar local law enforcement officials from coordinating with federal immigration agents. And it ultimately found itself on the wrong side of a historic Supreme Court ruling that found the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects gay and transgender workers from discrimination.
In other words, the Trump-era Civil Rights Division systematically worked to further the oppression of already marginalized groups.
Those injustices and more are about to come to a screeching halt as the Biden administration works to swiftly "undo the Trump years," according to Linda Chavez, who served as the White House director of public liaison for former President Ronald Reagan.
Good riddance. Don't let the door hit you on the way out, Bill Barr and Donald Trump.
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