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Our Work

Our Work

photo of hallway in Main Justice Building

The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, created in 1957 by the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1957, works to uphold the civil and constitutional rights of all persons in the United States, particularly some of the most vulnerable members of our society. The Division enforces federal statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity), disability, religion, familial status, national origin, and citizenship status.

Since its establishment, the Division has grown dramatically in both size and scope, and has played a role in many of the nation's pivotal civil rights battles. Division attorneys prosecuted the defendants accused of murdering three civil rights workers in Mississippi in 1964, and were involved in the investigations of the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Medgar Evers. The Division enforces a wide array of laws that protect the civil rights of all individuals.


The Division is led by the Assistant Attorney General. Each Section of the Division is headed by a Section Chief and several Deputy Chiefs and Special Legal or Litigation Counsels. The Division's leadership, Section Chiefs, attorneys, and administrative staff are based in Washington, D.C.

The Division's work is carried out by 11 sections: 

Appellate Section Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Criminal Section Immigrant and Employee Rights Section
Disability Rights Section Policy and Strategy Section
Educational Opportunities Section Special Litigation Section
Employment Litigation Section Voting Section
Federal Coordination and Compliance  

The Division's goals are supported by two cross-sectional working groups:

Indian Working Group LGBTQI+ Working Group
Updated June 1, 2023