The research comes during a deep racial reckoning in America, where Black communities are bludgeoned over the increasing unrest and state sanctioned violence enacted by judges, police and prosecutors and vigilantes emboldened by the lack of action in the criminal justice system.
The AP analyzed government data from over three decades of data which found a decline in diversity than Trump’s last three predecessors. Eighty-five percent of his Senate-confirmed U.S attorneys are white men compared with 58 percent in Democratic President Barack Obama’s eight years, 73 percent during Republican George W. Bush’s two terms and at most 63 percent under Democrat Bill Clinton.
Of the 93 U.S. attorney’s office’s counted, 79 are led by white men, even though they make up less than a third of the population. Nine are women, while two are Black and two are Hispanic.
The lack of representation directly leads to bias and sentencing decisions, which in turn affects Black communities as Black people account for 34 percent of the prison population, even though we only make up 13 percent of the population. At every turn Trump and his administration have made it clear they are far from interested in civility or examining the racial bias within the criminal justice system. From the appointment of former Sen. Jeff Sessions to the office of Attorney General, to the current Attorney General William Barr who dismissed the idea of systemic racism in law enforcement.
As seen in the numerous high-profile cases entered into investigation under the federal government, many closed without finding any evidence of wrongdoing. This is evident in the federal investigation findings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. For the families of many others like Philando Castile, an independent federal probe was never opened.
But lack of diversity among prosecutors is just one piece of the puzzle. The AP also found “nearly 86 percent of the 206 federal judges confirmed to lifetime positions under Trump have been white — the highest rate of white judicial appointments since George H.W. Bush’s presidency. Two-thirds of Trump’s judicial appointees have been white men; fewer than a quarter have been women.”
Lastly and more strikingly, the AP reports that in response to their research the Justice Department submitted a statement that did not address the stark findings. Nealy Cox, U.S. attorney in Dallas and chair of the Attorney General Advisory Committee, said the current group under Trump represents “the most dedicated public servants in America” and noted many are experienced prosecutors.