By Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón
President-elect Joe Biden has picked some of the nation’s most respected legal minds to lead the Department of Justice and restore independence and integrity to the people’s law office. His nominations will renew Americans’ faith in the rule of law and these veteran public servants will work tirelessly to build a more equitable system of justice.
Over the last four years, the disregard for the mission of the Justice Department has devastated morale and trust within the walls of the DOJ—a condition that has eroded the department’s ability to fulfill its responsibilities to the American people. Today’s nominations will turn a new page and these leaders will work with the dedicated career professionals to restore the mission and independence of the department, always follow facts and the law and serve and protect the American people with the integrity they deserve.
In the wake of expected victories in Georgia, I am excited for a Biden-Harris administration to have the mandate they need to meaningfully reform our criminal justice system. That includes fully executing the bipartisan First Step Act, parts of which build on legislation authored by the President-elect and enacted by the Obama-Biden administration.
These nominees also have the will and experience to ensure that pending applications for compassionate release are reviewed expeditiously, particularly in light of the COVID-19 crisis in our prisons which is harming not just the in-custody population, but also the tens of thousands of Americans who work in prisons and live in communities across the country.
Under the leadership of these nominees, the Department of Justice will prioritize the enforcement of civil and voting rights, using all of its authority under the law. They will also work to do the tough but critical work of restoring trust between law enforcement and the communities they are sworn to protect and serve. What’s more, they will hold police departments accountable for abuses of power and will provide law enforcement with the necessary training and resources to ensure public safety while instilling greater equity and community trust.
[On Jan. 6, 2021,] President-Elect Joe Biden announced the following nominations:
- Judge Merrick Garland, a Department of Justice veteran and independent jurist on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, is nominated to serve as Attorney General.
- Lisa Monaco, a veteran prosecutor and dedicated public servant, is nominated to serve as Deputy Attorney General.
- Vanita Gupta, former Acting Assistant Attorney General and one of the most respected civil rights attorneys in America, is nominated to serve as Associate Attorney General.
- Kristen Clarke, a veteran of the Department of Justice, is nominated to serve as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.