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Rollins tapped to serve as U.S. attorney

Avery Bleichfeld
Rollins tapped to serve as U.S. attorney

On Monday, President Joe Biden nominated Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins to serve as U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts.

Rollins was elected Suffolk County District Attorney in 2018, becoming the first woman to serve in that seat and the first woman of color elected district attorney in Massachusetts.

Rollins, along with the seven other nominees for U.S. attorney positions announced Monday, were picked “for their devotion to enforcing the law, their professionalism, their experience and credentials in this field, their dedication to pursuing equal justice for all and their commitment to the independence of the Department of Justice,” according to a statement released by the White House.

Acting Mayor Kim Janey praised Rollins at a press conference Monday.

“Rachael is an amazing woman, she’s an amazing public servant and I am blessed to call her my sister in this work. I have nothing to offer her but my deepest gratitude for the work she has done already as Suffolk County district attorney,” Janey said.

Rahsaan Hall, director of the Racial Justice Program at the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts (ACLU Massachusetts), said his organization looks forward to working with Rollins, if confirmed, on matters of civil rights and police accountability.

“I think she brings an appreciation for the lived experience of over-policed and marginalized communities, particularly Black and Latinx communities,” Hall said. “I think that perspective is something that is much needed in that office. The hope is that, under this administration, she is able to pursue initiatives that are in service of those communities and don’t exacerbate the overcriminalization of poor communities and communities of color.”

U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, who recommended Rollins for the role, expressed their support for her nomination in a joint statement.

“District Attorney Rollins is a national leader on transforming the criminal justice system and shifting away from an approach based on punishment and penalization to one that combats the root causes of injustice, whether it be poverty, substance use or racial disparity. She has prosecutorial experience, and is dedicated and committed to advancing equal justice for all, and we are certain that she will be a tremendous U.S. Attorney.”

Hall said Rollins’ background as a lawyer and politician, as well as her roots in the Boston area, set her up for success in the role.

“I think it’s just important to note that she’s well qualified for the position, given her education and work background, but also, importantly, her life experience, the fact that she has loved ones who are impacted by the system, and the perspective that she brings, having been the district attorney for Suffolk County. The incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people she’s in community with, the people who are survivors of homicide but also want to see reform, those are the voices and experiences that will hopefully inform the work that she does in this new role if she is confirmed.”

If she is confirmed, Governor Charlie Baker would pick a replacement to fill Rollin’s slot until the end of her elected term in 2022. Rollins has requested that Baker pick her first assistant, Daniel Mulhern, to fill the role.