Politics Garland rescinds Trump-era memo curtailing consent decrees
Roger Goodell responds to Georgia voting legislation in memo to NFL employees
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has sent a memo to NFL employees regarding Georgia's new voting legislation, which contains several provisions that will make it harder for numerous Georgians to exercise their constitutional right to vote. USA Today's Mike Jones posted excerpts of the memo on Monday, which was then obtained in full by ProFootballTalk. In the memo, Goodell highlights the ways the NFL supported and promoted voting over the past year, and commits to continuing that in the future. “I know that a number of you have asked questions about the recent Georgia legislation regarding that state’s voting procedures.
Attorney General Merrick Garland has officially revoked a Trump-era memo that limited the use of consent decrees by prosecutors in pushing for changes at police departments and other agencies in abuse and misconduct investigations.
In to all U.S. attorneys and Justice Department leaders, Garland wrote that the agency will "return to the traditional process that allows the heads of litigating components to approve most settlement agreements, consent decrees, and the use of monitors in cases involving state and local governmental entities."
Garland Shuns Spotlight in Bid to Rebuild DOJ Image After Trump
Merrick Garland had been attorney general for less than a week when a gunman killed eight people in the Atlanta area, six of whom were Asian women, sending a wave of terror through the Asian-American community and reigniting a national debate on gun control. © Bloomberg Merrick Garland But in a break with his predecessors’ actions, the nation’s top law enforcement officer largely stayed out of public view, working behind the scenes to shape the department’s response. The move was part of a conscious strategy to steer clear of politics and the limelight, according to interviews with Justice Department officials.
"This memorandum makes clear that the Department will use all appropriate legal authorities to safeguard civil rights and protect the environment, consistent with longstanding Departmental practice and informed by the expertise of the Department's career workforce," Garland said Friday.
Consent decrees, court-approved legal agreements reached without litigation, have previously been used following civil rights investigations to force the implementation of mandated reforms.
Such decrees followed the federal investigations into the Ferguson Police Department after the killing of Michael Brown and in Baltimore following the police custody death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray.
In November 2018, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo that limited the use of consent decrees, and his first Senate-confirmed successor, William Barr, accused the Obama administration of overusing the legal agreements.
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Democrats have pushed back, arguing the move was part of a pattern of the Trump administration limiting the ability of the Justice Department's civil rights division to conduct extensive probes of police departments.
Conversations on civil rights issues and justice reform have gained increased momentum in the past year, especially in the civil unrest prompted by the police killings of George Floyd and other Black individuals.
The defense team for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin this week in his ongoing murder trial in connection with Floyd's death.
Chauvin, who was captured in graphic footage from last May kneeling on Floyd's neck for roughly nine minutes, invoked his Fifth Amendment rights, confirming that he would not testify.
Democrats have hoped that President Biden's nominee to lead the Justice Department's civil rights division, Kristen Clarke, the department's justice reform efforts, including the use of consent decrees to ensure oversight of police departments accused of systemic misconduct.
Garland rescinds Trump-era restrictions on federal investigations of police departments .
Atty. Gen. Merrick Garland rescinded Friday restrictions on Justice Department's use of consent decrees to force police departments to reform.In a four-page memo, Garland rescinded a policy enacted by Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions in November 2018 that essentially blocked broad Justice Department inquiries of police forces and to enter into legal agreements for oversight.