A federal judge on Thursday ordered the Trump administration not to release a report by the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice, finding that the group ― comprised entirely of current and former members of law enforcement ― had been “far from transparent.”
Senior U.S. District Judge John Bates, a George W. Bush appointee, issued a 45-page ruling finding that commission ― which President Donald Trump announced with fanfare at a police conference last year ― had violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), which requires that committees be “fairly balanced” in the viewpoints represented.
Attorney General William Barr said there was a need to hear from a “diversity of backgrounds and perspectives,” but the commission was full of law enforcement officials. Bates’ order requires Barr “to ensure the Commission has a fairly balanced membership.”
Last month, as HuffPost previously reported, an elected prosecutor quit one of the commission’s working groups because he worried that it was “providing cover” for a predetermined law-and-order agenda that “will only widen the divisions in our nation.”
Bates wrote that the commission’s membership “consists entirely of current and former law enforcement officials” and that no commissioner “has a criminal defense, civil rights, or community organization background.”
“Especially in 2020, when racial justice and civil rights issues involving law enforcement have erupted across the nation, one may legitimately question whether it is sound policy to have a group with little diversity of experience examine, behind closed doors, the sensitive issues facing law enforcement and the criminal justice system in America today,” he wrote.
The NAACP Legal Defense Fund had challenged the commission. Bates found that it had standing to do so, and that it had “also suffered an injury in fact because the government has denied LDF access to a...