Senate Narrowly Advances Kristen Clarke, Biden’s Nominee to Lead Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division

Kristen Clarke, U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee to be assistant attorney general for the civil rights division, speaks as Biden announces his Justice Department nominees at his transition headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., January 7, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

The Senate on Tuesday narrowly voted to proceed with the confirmation of Kristen ClarkePresident Biden‘s nominee to lead the Justice Department’s civil rights division, over stiff Republican opposition.

The Senate approved a procedural motion by a 50-48 margin to break a tied committee vote over Clarke’s nomination, which divided 11-11 on party lines last week.

The floor vote on Tuesday broke mostly along partisan lines as well, with just one Republican, Sen. Susan Collins (Maine), voting in favor. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who has crossed party lines to support other Biden nominees, was absent.

Republicans have criticized Clarke as a radical who is anti-police, while Democrats have dismissed GOP opposition as a smear tactic against an eminently qualified civil rights attorney.

“These attempts to smear Ms. Clarke’s record are a last-ditch effort to discredit a nominee with exemplary qualifications,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said on the Senate floor Tuesday. “The bottom line is this: Ms. Clarke is the right person to lead the civil rights division.”

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SOURCE: The Hill, Harper Neidig