(Washington, D.C.) — U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland delivered remarks Friday, laying out the role the U.S. Department of Justice will play in defending voting rights across the nation. The following is a statement from Damon Hewitt, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law:
“The right to vote is the cornerstone of a well-functioning democracy. Any assault on this sacred institution, regardless of political party, is a threat to our civil rights and democracy itself. Yet, as long as the right to vote has existed in this country, we have seen racially discriminatory efforts to limit access to the ballot and suppress the vote of Black people through a combination of misinformation, unduly burdensome restrictions, intimidation and violence. In recent years, we have seen a resurgence of this illegal and immoral weakening of democracy.
“Attorney General Garland’s remarks today affirmed the importance of enforcing federal law to protect the franchise for all voters. We applaud his decision to commit new federal resources for this important work, through enhanced enforcement capacity, provision of guidance and assistance to states, and renewed scrutiny of laws that would suppress the vote or overturn the certified results of fair and democratic elections.
“Congress also can do its part to help the DOJ in this fight. We and others in the civil rights community call on the U.S. Senate to pass both the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the For the People Act, two essential pieces of legislation that will protect voting rights for all Americans.”
About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law – The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of voting rights, criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and hate crimes. For more information, please visit https://lawyerscommittee.org.