This article is part of TPM Cafe, TPM’s home for opinion and news analysis.
If you search for the Civil Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Google, you’ll find an overwhelming majority of search results are for the Civil Rights Division. That’s unsurprising — the average person is typically more aware of the Civil Rights Division’s work. And it sense: As the “crown jewel” of the DOJ, the division performs the crucial work of enforcing the laws that prohibit discrimination.
But progressives and activists should be tuned into both the work of the Civil Rights Division and the Civil Division, the latter of which has just as much potential to align with progressive priorities, like holding corporations accountable. Civil enforcement actions play a significant role in the DOJ’s larger corporate enforcement efforts. Progressives have justifiably pushed for a civil rights-minded attorney general, an empowered Civil Rights Division, and a whole-of-government approach to civil rights. The sweeping litigation responsibilities of the Civil Division often slip under the radar — but they’re just as relevant to the public interest.
Case in point: two recent lawsuits against Texas. While the Civil Rights Division is handling the lawsuit against Texas for its discriminatory electoral maps, the Civil Division is handling the lawsuit against Texas for its novel abortion ban.