(CNN)Anger over federal executions continued to grow Friday after two Black men died by lethal injection within nearly 24 hours.
Alfred Bourgeois was executed the day after Brandon Bernard. Bernard's death sentence was criticized by celebrities and politicians who fought until the end to halt the execution.
Bernard's case became a high-profile clemency campaign that advocates say highlights major issues within the justice system. The cases were among the last that were quickly scheduled by the Trump administration. Bernard and Bourgeois were two of four Black men scheduled to die by lethal injection during the Trump administration's final days in the office.
Bourgeois was the 10th person to be executed since Attorney General William Barr announced in July 2019 the revival of capital punishment for federal death row inmates -- a decision that has been fraught with controversy.
The Department of Justice has defended its decision.
"The Department intended to resume executions in December 2019, however due to litigation, the process was suspended," a department spokeswoman told CNN Friday night. "Once the Supreme Court ruled in favor of resuming executions, the Department has proceeded each month -- with the exception of October -- since July 2020."
Although six White men were executed over the summer, critics say that death sentences have disproportionally affected people of color for decades. Five Black men, including Bourgeois and Bernard, have been scheduled to die since Election Day. Bernard's co-defendant Christopher Vailva, who was Black, was executed in September.
On Friday morning, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted, "Brandon Bernard should be alive today. We must end all federal executions and abolish the death penalty. In a world of incredible violence, the state should not be involved in premeditated murder."
Bernard was one of five gang members convicted in Texas of killing Stacie and Todd Bagley -- who were youth ministers -- in 1999.
Although Bernard apologized for his role in the crime before he died on Thursday night, it wasn't until 2018, when his legal team learned that the trial prosecutor withheld information from the defense. The alleged violation was the basis