Samuel R. Bagenstos

Samuel R. Bagenstos is the Frank G. Millard Professor of Law at the University of Michigan.

Recent Articles

Civil Rights Déjà Vu, Only Worse

Under George W. Bush, Republicans set about undermining the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department. Expect a more devastating assault on the division under Trump.

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP Images
This article will appear in the Winter 2017 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . In my first job as a practicing lawyer, I served from 1994 to 1997 as a career attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. The division, staffed by hundreds of committed lawyers and other professionals, has long played a key role in making good on our nation’s promise of equality under the law. Established in 1957, it was at the center of the civil-rights struggle of the 1960s. Its attorneys had a major hand in drafting, defending, and enforcing the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and its cases successfully desegregated schools and neighborhoods throughout the United States. The Civil Rights Division has always represented the best of what government can do. At the beginning of the Obama administration, I returned to the division as part of the leadership team assembled by Tom Perez, who was assistant attorney general at the...