BALTIMORE – The NAACP released the following statement after the Justice Department issued guidance to the Civil Rights division to settle cases without using consent decrees: no-fault agreements that have helped de-segregate schools, reform police departments, defend religious freedom and ensure access for the disabled.
“Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ order to Civil Rights division staff that they avoid using consent decrees – a historic tool to ensure business and local governments simply follow the rules – is another clear attempt to hurt the Black community by weakening the government’s ability to defend our civil liberties,” said Leon Russell, Board Chairman of the NAACP. “Not only does this break away from decades of tradition, it’s just plain sneaky since the instructions were given verbally rather than written in a memo or email. The NAACP is calling on the Trump Administration to be more open and transparent about changes within the Justice Department’s Civil Rights division and to put protecting Americans first.”
For Background: ProPublica – a nonprofit, investigative news outlet – reports that top officials in the Justice Department’s civil rights division have issued verbal guidance to its staff to seek settlements in cases without consent decrees.