Former President Donald Trump's efforts to remake the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department have been completely eliminated by President Joe Biden, CNN reported.
It was mere months after Trump entered the White House that he purged the DOJ of any Obama-era prosecutors, including those working with Trump's transition team like Preet Bharara. After leaving, Bharara confessed that he was fearful Trump would ask him "to do something inappropriate." By Feb. 2020, Trump announced that it was working further to "purge" the Justice Department of what it considered to be "disloyal employees" from the DOJ.
The administration will "take appropriate action" when officials find that Justice Department workers not sufficiently loyal to Trump, a spokesman said at the time.
It was just a few months into the Biden administration that it was announced the DOJ Civil Rights Division would investigate three police departments. The team also said that it would conduct an investigation into Georgia's prison system for possible civil rights violations. A Texas juvenile facility is also under investigation for systemic physical or sexual abuse of children. Within months of taking office, the DOJ announced it would also implement "new limits on chokeholds and no-knock warrants."
"Nationally, Black children are over four times more likely to be incarcerated than White children," said chief Kristen Clarke. "And the disparity is even greater in Texas, where Black children are over five times more likely to be incarcerated."
The boldest of these moves is, perhaps, a review of DOJ police funding that was announced last month. The review relies on a piece of civil rights law known as Title XI, which is often described as the sleeping giant of civil rights law, Bill Yeomans, a former acting assistant attorney general for civil rights told CNN.
Bill Yeomans, a former acting assistant attorney general for civil rights explained that there have been discussions in the past by Democrats for embracing the Civil Rights Division as a way to institute equal rights under Title XI. Now it is finally being implemented to "ensure that public funds are not furthering race discrimination," said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta.
NAACP Legal Defense Fund president Sherrilyn Ifill called it "big shifts," after Biden took over the presidency. "I don't think there's ever been a Title XI comprehensive review by the Department of Justice."
Under former President Trump's administration, the Justice Department focused more on what it considered to be religious freedom concerns.
"It's a really strong sign that Vanita is going to take care of unfinished business," said former DOJ official Julie Abbate. "Not just go back to the way things were, but make things even better than they were before, because the way things were under Obama, it was the floor if anything."