We congratulate Vanita Gupta on her historic confirmation as Associate Attorney General and are encouraged that a bipartisan majority of the Senate has recognized her robust record and experience as a civil rights attorney and leader.
Ms. Gupta brings to the Department of Justice (DOJ) a deep commitment to equal justice for all and to advancing racial and gender justice. Most recently, as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Ms. Gupta was a champion for civil and constitutional rights, including access to reproductive rights. During her time working in the Obama administration, leading the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, she fought to protect LGBTQ+ and disability rights and the rights of people to have safe access to reproductive health care clinics. Her division prosecuted hate crimes and challenged discrimination in education, housing, and employment.
Ms. Gupta is supremely qualified to serve as Associate Attorney General, and yet during her confirmation hearing, she was subjected to sexist and racist questions and attacks. These attacks are not new—we have seen many of President Biden’s nominees experience similar hostility based on their gender, race, and/or gender identity—but they are shameful and abhorrent. We must name and condemn this blatant discrimination and unequal treatment.
Ms. Gupta’s confirmation is groundbreaking—she is the first woman of color to serve as Associate Attorney General and is the first civil rights lawyer to hold one of the top three positions at DOJ—and her confirmation comes at a pivotal time. We are in an unprecedented crisis with the COVID-19 pandemic that is disproportionately impacting Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities, people with disabilities, and people living in poverty. As a country, we are also in a moment of reckoning on racial justice and the violence of racism against Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, including a recent rise in anti-Asian harassment and violence, disproportionately impacting Asian American women and elders. Ms. Gupta’s expertise and steadfast commitment to equal justice under the law is urgently needed in this moment. We look forward to working closely with her in the years ahead.