News Roundup

Afternoon Briefs: Kristen Clarke confirmed as DOJ civil rights chief; SCOTUS chief justice speaks to law grads

  • Print.

Kristen Clarke

Kristen Clarke. Photo from Getty Images.

Senate confirms Kristen Clarke

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday confirmed Kristen Clarke to head the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division on a 51-48 vote. Clarke was president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. She is the first woman and first Black woman to lead the Civil Rights Division. Opponents criticized Clarke’s prior call to redirect police money to social services and her 1994 letter satirizing claims in the book The Bell Curve, which examined racial differences in IQ scores. (Law360, Courthouse News Service, USA Today)

SCOTUS chief justice urges law grads to use reason over power

U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. spoke about the power of reason in a recorded commencement speech Tuesday to graduates of the Georgetown University Law Center. “The lawyer’s tool is reason. Resolving disputes according to reason embodied in the law can involve a lot more work than leaving it all up to power,” Roberts said. (, YouTube commencement video)

Former tax lawyer sentenced for child porn

Former California tax lawyer Richard Hartman, 47, was sentenced to 20 months in prison May 18 for possessing child pornography. Federal prosecutors said Hartman had 759 videos and more than 8,000 images of child pornography, including images of groups of toddlers being sexually assaulted by multiple adults, and tied-up children being subjected to physical and sexual abuse. Prosecutors had sought a sentence of more than eight years. Hartman’s lawyers said he had depression after leaving his job as a tax attorney for Oracle, and he appeared to be trying to destroy himself. (The Bay Area News Group)

Trump claims immunity in insurrection suit

Lawyers for former President Donald Trump have said he has absolute immunity in a lawsuit by House Democrats claiming that he incited the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot. Lawyers said in a motion filed Monday that Trump can’t be sued for actions that he took after taking office. (CNN, Law360)

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.