Evan Vucci / AP
Updated at 2:37 PM ET
A federal judge ordered the Trump administration’s Blue Ribbon Law Enforcement Commission Thursday to cease its job and prevented it from publishing a report until a number of legal requirements are met.
United States Senior District Judge John D. Bates’ ruling ends the work of the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice less than one month before the deadline for submitting the final report.
President Trump signed an executive order establishing the commission last year to study the challenges facing law enforcement and communities. Attorney General William Barr was tasked with putting the commission together and getting it off the ground.
Almost from the start, civil rights groups expressed concern about the commission, saying its composition and focus were in favor of law enforcement and showed contempt for police reform efforts. One of the commission’s working groups, critics note, was entitled “Respect for law enforcement.”
In April, the NAACP Defense and Legal Education Fund filed a lawsuit against the commission, claiming it violated Federal Advisory Committee law. That law carries a number of requirements for a federal advisory committee, including that it is “fairly balanced” in the views represented and that its meetings are open to the public.
In his 45-page opinion, Bates found that the threshold had not been reached.
“The members of the commission are made up entirely of current and former law enforcement officials,” he wrote. “No commissioner has a criminal defense, civil rights or community organization background.”
The judge also found that the commission’s proceedings were “far from transparent,” which, according to him, is of particular concern at this time.
“Especially in 2020, when issues of racial justice and civil rights involving law enforcement have erupted nationwide, one can legitimately ask whether it is good policy to have a group with little diversity of experience examining, closed, the sensitive issues facing the law, enforcement and the criminal justice system in America today, ”Bates wrote.
The Justice Department declined to comment on Thursday.
Civil rights and reform advocates, however, welcomed the court’s decision.
Miriam Krinsky, founder and executive director of Fair and Just Prosecution, called the ruling “a victory for all those who are working to build a fairer and fairer criminal legal system, founded on racial equity and promoting safety and well-being. of the community.. “
“Unfortunately, at a time when confidence in law enforcement is at an all-time low,” he said, “this commission is nothing more than a fictional proceeding designed to promote a political agenda.”