Today (December 7), President Donald Trump announced that he will nominate William Barr to replace Jeff Sessions as the nation’s attorney general. Barr is a corporate attorney who previously served in the position under President George H.W. Bush.
Aside from making comments that were critical of Robert Mueller’s probe of the Trump administration and support for investigating Hillary Clinton, as noted by The Washington Post, several civil rights and criminal justice reform organizations issued statements about his appointment.
Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
“In two years, the Justice Department under Trump has decimated civil rights across communities and issue areas. Trump’s appointment of Jeff Sessions for attorney general was everything we feared and more. Now, Trump has announced a second appointee, William Barr, to lead the Department. William Barr’s own record on civil rights is deeply troubling, particularly in the area of criminal justice. We urge the Senate to exercise its advise and consent responsibility carefully and thoroughly and to vet this nominee entrusted with enforcing our rights with the utmost care. Given his own policies, actions and statements on civil rights, Trump is not entitled to any deference on an appointment this critical to enforcing our nation’s civil right laws. In fact, Trump’s deplorable record makes an appointment immediately suspect. The American people deserve a Justice Department and a leader committed to the rule of law and committed to civil and human rights which are foundational to our democracy. Now is the time to protect the mission and independence of the Justice Department so that it may ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for everyone.”
Faiz Shakir, national political director for the American Civil Liberties Union
“William Barr’s record suggests that he will follow Jeff Sessions’ legacy of hostility to civil rights and civil liberties. If confirmed, Trump will have a partner in one of the most powerful roles of the administration, and someone who defended the president’s decision to fire James Comey. The Senate must press Barr to adhere to the obligation of the Justice Department to defend the rights of all—immigrants, women, people of color, LGBTQ people and people with disabilities. Barr must commit to defending the rule of law and civil rights, not serving as a political arm of Trump’s anti-constitutional agenda.”
If you’re curious what William Barr means for DOJ, his November 7th op-ed in which he gushes praise for all of Jeff Sessions’ racist policies should tell you everything you need to know. https://t.co/2WRy0PmACz— Advancement Project (@adv_project) December 7, 2018
Trump’s pick for AG isn’t just a supporter of mass incarceration, he wrote the book on it.— Advancement Project (@adv_project) December 7, 2018
In 1992 he signed off on “The Case for More Incarceration.”
Trump picking Barr isn’t a surprise. It’s in line w his attacks on Black communities & his racist approach to justice. pic.twitter.com/PBXG4mhFww
In 1995 he was quoting saying that, “The benefits of increased incarceration would be enjoyed disproportionately by Black Americans.” Which is false. Mass incarceration tears Black communities and families apart.— Advancement Project (@adv_project) December 7, 2018