Support the Confirmation of Margaret Garnett to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York

Courts Resources 09.11,23

View PDF of this letter here.

September 11, 2023


Dear Senator:

On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 240 national organizations committed to promoting and protecting the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States, we write to express our strong support for the confirmation of Margaret Garnett to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The Leadership Conference intends to include your position on the confirmation of Ms. Garnett in our voting record for the 118th Congress.

Ms. Garnett’s years of distinguished public service make her a wonderful choice for this position. Currently, Ms. Garnett serves as special counsel to the U.S. Attorney for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. During her nearly 15 years with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, she held many positions, including: deputy U.S. attorney, assistant U.S. attorney, chief and deputy chief of the Violent Crimes Unit, chief of the Violent and Organized Crime Unit, and chief and deputy chief of appeals. Additionally, she spent three years as commissioner of the New York City Department of Investigation. Ms. Garnett was the executive deputy attorney general for the Office of the New York Attorney General and spent time in private practice as an associate with Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. She also trained future lawyers at Brooklyn Law School, Cardozo Law School, and Columbia Law School. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Yale University, and Columbia Law School, she clerked for Judge Gerard Lynch on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Ms. Garnett will be a great addition to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Ms. Garnett’s commitment to pursuing equal justice for all people — and her significant experience holding those in positions of power accountable for their actions — make her an exceptional choice to serve on the federal bench. She spent three years as the commissioner of the New York City Department of Investigation (DOI), the oversight agency charged with rooting out fraud, corruption, and abuse of power by city employees.[1] Ms. Garnett led the agency’s work investigating complaints against city employees, including those employed by the New York Police Department (NYPD). In addition to investigating individual claims of abuse, DOI is also charged with systemic analysis and creating reform suggestions based on data collected from each investigation. For example, while Ms. Garnett was the commissioner, DOI released recommendations for improving how the NYPD handles complaints of biased policing,[2] and for anti-corruption strategies and implementation at 61 different city agencies.[3]

Most notably, Ms. Garnett oversaw the investigation into the NYPD’s shameful handling of the protests in the wake of the murder of George Floyd.[4] The report published by DOI showed that the NYPD sent out officers who lacked sufficient training and engaged in “excessive enforcement,” which inflamed already heightened tensions.[5] The report also contained suggestions for reform that included developing more comprehensive training and oversight for officers’ conduct, including community-based training from advocacy organizations, which the police commissioner agreed to incorporate into future training.[6]

In addition to her full caseload of work, Ms. Garnett is also extremely dedicated to serving her community. Notable among her volunteer work is helping to found the When There Are Nine scholarship project, which helps promote diversity within the legal profession by “expanding career opportunities for women attorneys.”[7] As this dedicated history of public service demonstrates, Ms. Garnett is extremely well qualified to serve on this court.

Ms. Garnett is an excellent choice for this position, and we strongly urge the Senate to confirm her to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. If you would like to discuss this matter further, please contact Lena Zwarensteyn, senior director of the fair courts program, at (202) 466-3311. Thank you for your consideration.


Maya Wiley
President & CEO

Jesselyn McCurdy
Executive Vice President of Government Affairs



[1] DOI’s Mission and History, New York City Department of Investigation (accessed August 2023).

[2]  DOI Issues Annual Anti-Corruption Report Identifying Corruption Hazards And The Strategies To Remedy Them At 61 City Agencies And Entities, New York City Department of Investigation (March 4, 2021).

[3] Examination By DOI’s Office Of The Inspector General For The NYPD Identifies Deficiencies And Recommends Improvements In How NYPD Handles Complaints Of Biased Policing, New York City Department of Investigation (June 26, 2019).

[4] Investigation into NYPD Response to the George Floyd Protests, New York City Department of Investigation (December 2020).

[5] Id.

[6] Ali Watkins, An Unprepared N.Y.P.D. Badly Mishandled Floyd Protests, Watchdog Says, The New York Times (December 18, 2020).

[7] When There Are Nine Scholarship Project, Federal Bar Council (accessed August 2023).