Prominent Indian-American civil rights lawyer Vanita Gupta has been confirmed by the US Senate as an associate attorney general, making her the first black person to occupy the third position in the Justice Department.
Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski broke away from party colleagues to support Gupta, 46, giving Democrats 51 votes to see him through Wednesday’s historic confirmation.
The Senate voted 51-49 to confirm Gupta.
Vice President Kamala Harris was present in the Senate to cast his vote in the event of a tie.
The two parties have 50 members each in the United States Senate with 100 seats.
“Congratulations to Vanita Gupta for making history as the first woman of color to serve as associate attorney general. I now urge the Senate to confirm Kristen Clarke. Both are eminently qualified, highly respected lawyers who are dedicated to promoting racial fairness and justice, ”said President Joe Biden.
Gupta is also the first civil rights lawyer to hold one of the top three positions in the Department of Justice.
Senate Majority Leader Senator Chuck Schumer, who played a key role in his confirmation, said Gupta is the first woman of color and a civil rights lawyer to play the role.
“It will bring a long-delayed perspective to our federal law enforcement agency,” he said.
The daughter of Indian immigrants who was born and raised in the Philadelphia area, Gupta had an illustrious career fighting for civil rights.
He received a bachelor’s degree in arts from Yale University and a Juris Doctor from New York University.
At the age of 28, he began his career at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, where he successfully overturned the illegal drug convictions of 38 black Americans in Tulia, Texas.
While at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), she fought to end mass incarceration and provide a reference solution against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on behalf of immigrant children, which led to end of family detention at the unit.
From 2014 to 2017, Gupta served as Deputy Attorney General for Civil Rights under President Barack Obama, where he advanced criminal justice reform, prosecuted hate crimes, protected voting rights and fought discrimination.
Indian-American groups congratulated Gupta on his historic confirmation.
“Vanita Gupta is the daughter of Indian immigrants who came to the United States with only eight dollars and a dream.
“She has become one of the most important civil rights advocates in the country and will achieve our highest ideals of justice as an associate attorney general,” said Neil Makhija, executive director of IMPACT, an Indian advocacy group. American.
“We are deeply proud of Vanita Gupta, knowing that she will be a strong champion for all Americans and especially for communities that have been marginalized. At a time when we are seeing attacks on our voting rights and an increase in hate crimes, our country needs a civil rights champion like Vanita Gupta at the highest levels of the Department of Justice, ”he said.
Wade Henderson, interim president and CEO of the Leading Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said Gupta has crossed his entire career barriers in a lifelong commitment to the civil rights of every individual in the country, especially those in marginalized communities.
“It is no surprise that she is making history again, this time as the first civil rights lawyer and woman of color who served as associate attorney general.
Now she needs to get to work quickly with Attorney General Garland, repairing the Department of Justice’s deeply tarnished reputation and restoring her role as chief executor of our civil rights, “Henderson said.
“We are at an essential moment in the history of our nation, a turning point in which we rebuild and defend democracy at the same time.
“As a long-time champion of civil rights, Vanita Gupta is exactly the person we need to help lead the Department of Justice and promote equal justice for all,” said Damon Hewitt, interim president and chief executive officer. Committee on Civil Rights of Lawyers According to the law.
“It has an extensive and unassailable track record in terms of integrity and expertise in the administration of justice and in upholding the rights of people with color traits that are extremely necessary at this time to restore independence and integrity to the Department of Justice. ,” he said.