Biden Admin Must Center Civil Rights in Fight Against White Supremacy

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law has released a policy paper detailing strategies to address longstanding problems with U.S. counterterrorism policy, its harms to civil rights and civil liberties, and its failure to address white supremacist violence.

The paper, “Confronting White Supremacist Violence: An Effective and Inclusive Path Forward,” shows how the current approach to counterterrorism has resulted in the targeting of communities of color and the muffling of political dissent, while violent extremism has continued to rise. 

The recent rise in hate crimes and the key role that white supremacist groups played in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol demonstrates the need for thoughtful, effective policy solutions to replace broken models for national security. The Biden administration has committed to tackling the problem, but has indicated that, in doing so, it will continue the current failed counterterrorism approach.

The paper states: “This doubling down on a national security framework has already caused damage to so many people in America, including many of the same communities who are the targets of white supremacist violence. Instead, the Biden administration should take an inclusive and more effective approach that:

  • Accounts for and prosecutes white supremacist violence using the laws already on the books;
  • Implements tangible civil rights and civil liberties safeguards to constrain the use of counterterrorism authorities against protestors and communities of color; and
  • Does not further expand the footprint and authority of national security agencies.”

“Confronting White Supremacist Violence: An Effective and Inclusive Path Forward” is available here.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 230 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit

The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law is a nonpartisan law and policy institute that works to reform, revitalize, and when necessary, defend our country’s systems of democracy and justice.  For more information on the Brennan Center, visit