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United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division

United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division
Seal of the United States Department of Justice
Division overview
FormedDecember 9, 1957 (1957-12-09)
JurisdictionUnited States government agency
HeadquartersRobert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building
950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C., United States
Annual budget$162 million (2015)[1]
Division executives
Parent departmentU.S. Department of Justice Edit this at Wikidata

The Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice enforces federal statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, sex, disability, religion, and national origin.

The division was established on December 9, 1957, by order of Attorney General William P. Rogers, after the Civil Rights Act of 1957 created the head office of Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights (AAG-CR; appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate). In 2021, Kristen Clarke became the first woman confirmed to the position.


  • Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights
    • Appellate Section
    • Coordination and Review Section
    • Criminal Section
    • Disability Rights Section
    • Educational Opportunities Section
    • Employment Litigation Section
    • Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
    • Immigrant and Employee Rights Section[2]
    • Policy & Strategy Section
    • Special Litigation Section
    • Voting Section


The Division enforces

In addition, the Division prosecutes actions under several criminal civil rights statutes which were designed to preserve personal liberties and safety.

Assistant Attorneys General

Drew S. Days III was the first African-American Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.
  denotes head that served as acting Assistant Attorney General
# Head Took office Left office Party Administration Ref.
1 W. Wilson White 1957 1960 Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower [3]
2 Harold R. Tyler 1960 1961 Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower [4]
3 Burke Marshall 1961 1965 Democratic John F. Kennedy [4]
4 John Doar 1965 1967 Republican Lyndon B. Johnson [4][5]
5 Stephen J. Pollak 1967 1969 Democratic Lyndon B. Johnson [4]
6 Jerris Leonard 1969 1971 Republican Richard Nixon [4]
7 David Luke Norman 1971 1973 Republican Richard Nixon [4]
8 J. Stanley Pottinger 1973 1977 Republican Richard Nixon [4]
9 Drew S. Days 1977 1980 Democratic Jimmy Carter [4]
10 William Bradford Reynolds 1981 1988 Republican Ronald Reagan [4][6]
William C. Lucas (acting) 1988 1989 Republican Ronald Reagan
James P. Turner (acting) 1989 1990 Republican Ronald Reagan
11 John R. Dunne 1990 1993 Republican George H. W. Bush [4]
James P. Turner (acting) 1993 1994 Democratic Bill Clinton
12 Deval Patrick 1994 1997 Democratic Bill Clinton [4]
13 Bill Lann Lee 1997 2001 Democratic Bill Clinton [7]
14 Ralph F. Boyd 2001 2003 Republican George W. Bush
Bradley Schlozman (acting) 2003 2003 Republican George W. Bush
15 Alexander Acosta 2003 2005 Republican George W. Bush
16 Wan J. Kim 2005 2007 Republican George W. Bush
Grace Chung Becker (acting) 2008 2008 Republican George W. Bush
17 Thomas Perez 2009 2013 Democratic Barack Obama [8]
Jocelyn Samuels (acting) 2013 2014 Democratic Barack Obama
Molly J. Moran (acting) 2014 2014 Democratic Barack Obama
Vanita Gupta (acting) 2014 2017 Democratic Barack Obama [9]
Thomas E. Wheeler II (acting) 2017 2017 Republican Donald Trump [10]
John M. Gore (acting) 2017 2018 Republican Donald Trump [11]
18 Eric Dreiband 2018 2021 Republican Donald Trump [12]
19 Kristen Clarke 2021 - Democratic Joe Biden


  1. ^ 2015 Department of Justice Budget Authority by Appropriation, United States Department of Justice, Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  2. ^ "Overview Of The Immigrant and Employee Rights Section". 2015-08-06. Retrieved 2019-05-31.
  3. ^ "The Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division: A Historical Perspective as the Division Nears 50, Remarks by Wan Kim, Mar. 22, 2006" (PDF).
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Turner, James P. (December 14, 1997). "Used and Abused: The Civil Rights Division". Washington Post. p. C01. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  5. ^ Reed, Roy (2014-11-11). "John Doar, Federal Lawyer on Front Lines Against Segregation, Dies at 92". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-10-08.
  6. ^ Garcia, Philip J. (November 9, 1988). "Assistant Attorney General William Bradford Reynolds, the Justice Department's Controversial Civil Rights Chief, Resigned Wednesday Effective Dec. 9". United Press International (UPI). Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  7. ^ Marquis, Christopher (August 4, 2000). "Clinton Sidesteps Senate to Fill Civil Rights Enforcement Job". New York Times. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  8. ^ "Meet the AAG Banner". The United States Department of Justice. 6 August 2015. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  9. ^ "Attorney General Holder Announces Vanita Gupta to Serve as Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division". The United States Department of Justice. October 15, 2014. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  10. ^ Tillman, Zoe (January 24, 2017). "Here's Who Is Running The Justice Department Right Now". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  11. ^ "United States Department Of Justice Civil Rights Division". July 28, 2017. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  12. ^ "Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband Announces Departure from Civil Rights Division". 2021-01-07. Retrieved 2021-02-28.
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United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division
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