Biden Must Nominate U.S. Attorneys Who Will Implement Needed Criminal Justice Reforms

Biden Must Nominate U.S. Attorneys Who Will Implement Needed Criminal Justice Reforms


The Point

President Biden’s decisions about who to nominate as federal prosecutors must reflect his campaign commitment to criminal justice reform—and the changed national focus on progressive prosecution. A broad group of organizations released a letter on Wednesday calling on Biden to do just that. 

Biden must nominate individuals committed to meaningful change in the federal criminal legal system:

Biden’s DOJ is critical to his plans for progress: 

  • There are 93 U.S. attorneys and “each is responsible for criminal enforcement on issues ranging from civil rights and police misconduct, to white collar crime and drug charges, with significant discretion over what to prioritize with their limited resources,” explained the group. Among the signatory organizations are Demand Justice, Drug Policy Alliance, Health in Justice Action Lab, National Association of Social Workers, and Vera Institute of Justice.
  • Biden has pledged to scale back mass incarceration and address the racial, gender, and income disparities in the criminal legal system. U.S. attorneys are responsible for many of the decisions that led to those problems and will be essential to fixing them.  
  • Scholars Rachel Barkow and Mark Osler recently explained in an Appeal Lab report that there is a lot Biden can do through the DOJ to push forward necessary reforms. But that won’t happen by “[r]ecycling Obama appointments and relying on former prosecutors.”  

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