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May 28, 2021
The Arrest-Related Deaths (ARD) program — a federal tracking system to document cases of police homicide amid other manners of death emanating from the arrest process & the police interaction at large — held massive potential to further police oversight goals. Not only does re-establishing the ARD program require no legislation, but a template for a revised ARD program has been underway for over 6 years. The pilot study reconstructing the ARD’s methodology yielded a blueprint mapping out how the relaunched ARD program could operate by a hybrid system of open-source media mining and law enforcement agency surveying. Reactivating the ARD program in its contemporary version is one of the easiest & speediest proposals that the Biden administration & Garland’s DOJ can actualize on the matter of criminal justice reform — so, why aren’t they?
May 27, 2021 | The American Prospect
The U.S. government is involved in hundreds of court cases each year, most of which are not followed closely. But the baseline assumption is that the government is defending the public interest and holding criminals accountable, even when most aren’t watching. Unfortunately, in Merrick Garland’s Justice Department, that is not uniformly the case. Key acting officials, drawn from the halls of corporate power, are riddled with conflicts of interest that are already affecting their ability to protect the public. If the Justice Department is to serve all Americans rather than bolster individual fortunes and entrench corporate power, Merrick Garland must stop elevating corporate attorneys who have gotten rich fighting on corporate America’s behalf.
May 21, 2021
Brian Netter, a corporate attorney who represented big business in wage theft cases and litigated against workers who sued companies for mismanaging their retirement funds, was just appointed to the Department of Justice.
May 20, 2021
Policing, anti-black, anti-immigrant, ableist, and capitalist at its core, was designed to be outside of the scope of the law. The deployment of federal law enforcement officers in unmarked vans to abduct and detain Black Lives Matter protestors in Portland, Oregan during last summer’s national uprising over police killings demonstrates the extreme nature of rogue American policing. Police prerogative power, as the expression of the state’s legalized violence to enforce public docility at its will, is embedded in US governance. Couple that with qualified immunity, police contracts & unions, police bill of rights, and whatnot, law enforcement are shielded from disciplinary actions.
May 11, 2021
Two recent pieces from The Hill and the New York Times have called much-needed attention to the dismal state of immigration courts in this country. Merrick Garland’s Department of Justice (DOJ), which oversees the immigration court system, has thus far failed to root out white supremacy and adequately staff the system, leaving hundreds of thousands of migrants in precarious legal–and physical–positions.
May 07, 2021
The DOJ's Civil Rights Division is Perilously Unstaffed, Slowing Biden Goals on Police Oversight and Reform
Throughout the 2020 campaign, in the wake of nationwide protests over the murder of George Floyd and other unarmed black people by police officers, Joe Biden committed himself to reforming law enforcement and combating police violence. But significant challenges loom in Biden’s quest for police reform. The federal government’s role in state and local law enforcement agencies is limited, and Biden’s ability to shepherd police reform legislation through Congress will be hampered by Republican opposition and disinclined moderate Democrats. Despite these obstacles, however, Biden is not powerless to make strides towards his campaign goals. Through his Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, he holds a significant power over local policing.
April 27, 2021
Amid a transition season of bruising battles between progressives and the old guard over Biden’s Cabinet picks, Merrick Garland for Attorney General was one choice that sparked relatively little controversy. Three months into Biden’s presidency, however, Garland is quickly shaping up to be the most consequentially bad Cabinet pick. On any number of important metrics — sweeping out holdovers from the Trump administration and reversing its positions, preventing corporate capture, and acting aggressively to advance the public interest — Garland is failing.
April 27, 2021
Since the passage of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA) of 2005, the bankruptcy process has been more onerous for poor debtors, who now must go through myriad additional hoops to prove their worthiness for financial relief. While many of the problems with our current bankruptcy system require legislative fixes, there is one thing that President Biden can do immediately to improve the system: fire and replace the Director of the Executive Office for US Trustees, Clifford J White, III.
April 22, 2021
Last May, as the country first erupted into protests over George Floyd’s murder at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, Biden promised that he would deliver “real police reform” if elected president. The country’s eyes are on Minnesota again this week after a police officer in a Minneapolis suburb shot and killed Daunte Wright, sparking a new wave of protests. This time, Biden need no longer speak in hypotheticals; he is President. Will his administration deliver?
April 14, 2021
As police terror continues to claim the lives of Black Minnesotans, Biden must use all the tools at his disposal to root out police misconduct and deliver on his campaign promises of racial justice. U.S. Attorneys, the local face of the Department of Justice, will be an important institution to leverage. But the remains of Trump’s influence on these offices through acting officials and assistants could thwart the administration’s goals.
April 13, 2021
President Biden announced last month that he would nominate Todd Kim to be the top environmental lawyer at the Department of Justice. It was a relatively quiet announcement, devoid of much fanfare, compared to the position’s enormous potential to shape environmental and climate policy for years to come.
April 09, 2021
New BigLaw Revolving Door Report Series Will Examine Corporate Law Firm Influence In Executive Branch And Regulatory Law
Today the Revolving Door Project and People’s Parity Project launched the BigLaw Revolving Door report series to investigate the outsized influence of corporate law firms and their clients on the executive branch and regulatory law spaces. As activists and legal experts continue to urge the Biden Administration to lock BigLaw attorneys, particularly those with large corporate clients, out of the leadership of his Department of Justice, RDP and PPP recognize the importance of exposing the horrific track record of these firms. Through this series, RDP and PPP plan to examine these corporate law firms and their clients more closely and educate the public about this often overlooked system of influence peddling.
April 08, 2021
The prolonged confirmation fights for top Biden nominees proved one thing: Republicans will gleefully and cynically exploit anti-corruption critiques of Biden’s Cabinet for their own political purposes. The President must deny them this potent political weapon by closing corporate America’s revolving door for good.
March 31, 2021
Another day, another former antitrust enforcer defecting for the corporate world. In the months since President Joe Biden promised to pursue more aggressive antitrust enforcement, former antitrust officials have become an even hotter commodity in the private sector. Douglas Rathbun is the latest official to jump ship from the increasingly central world of antitrust enforcement to the more lucrative world of defending the status quo. Rathbun is a former counsel for the Antitrust Division’s Office of Legal Policy and has advised the Division on administrative and regulatory matters as well as guided nominees to senior leadership positions. According to his LinkedIn, Rathbun elected to cut out the BigLaw middleman and join a corporation directly: this month he joined Facebook to work on public policy.
March 17, 2021
You were elected on what the Marshall Project termed, “the most progressive criminal justice platform of any major party candidate in generations.” Already, in your first month in office, you have repeatedly demonstrated your eagerness to follow through on key promises. Now, you have an opportunity to make additional planks of that platform a reality through your choice of United States Attorneys. Specifically, to create a more just, humane, and compassionate criminal justice system, you must elevate committed reformers to these powerful roles, not the same tough-on-crime prosecutors and corporate law attorneys who helped to construct our current broken order.