Vanita Gupta has made history in a remarkable turn of events on Wednesday (21 April 2021) as the US Senate announced her to be the associate general in the Justice Department. Lawyer Vanita Gupta, a Joe Biden Nominee, was confirmed in a narrow victory of 51-49 vote against Lisa Murkowski, a Republican Senator from Alaska. Therefore, joining Democrats in support to be the first person of colour donning the mantle of third-highest position at the Department of Justice.
In attendance was Vice President Kamala Harris in the Senate to cast her vote in case of a tie. The two parties Republican and Democrats, have 50 members each in the 100 seat United States Senate.
"Congratulations to Vanita Gupta on making history as the first woman of colour to serve as associate attorney general. Now, I urge the Senate to confirm Kristen Clarke. Both are eminently qualified, highly respected lawyers who are dedicated to advancing racial equity and justice," President Joe Biden said.
Gupta marks to be the first civil rights lawyer to be serving at the top three standings of the Department of Justice.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who contributed to the winning, opined how Gupta is the first-ever woman of colour and civil rights attorney to be at the helm of the role.
"She will bring a long-overdue perspective to our federal law enforcement agency," he said.
Gupta, 46, is the daughter of Indian immigrants, and she was born and brought up in Philadelphia. She celebrates a very stellar career as a civil rights lawyer. Gupta acquired her Bachelors of Arts degree from Yale University and Juris Doctor from New York University. She began her career at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund at the age of 38, where she triumphantly overturned illegitimate drug convictions of 38 Black Americans in Tulia, Texas.
During her stint at the American Civil Liberties Union(ACLU), she fought to bring an end to mass incarceration and significantly secured a landmark settlement against the Immigration and Custos Enforcement (ICE) on account of immigrant children, which ended family detention at the facility.
Under President Barack Obama, she served as the assistant attorney general for civil rights from 2014 to 2017. She proceeded to enable criminal justice reform, shielded voting rights, prosecuted hate crimes and battled against discrimination.
She has become one of the foremost civil rights advocates in the country and will effectuate our highest ideals of justice as associate attorney general," said Neil Makhija, executive director of IMPACT, a leading Indian-American advocacy group, reported The New Indian Express.
"We are deeply proud of Vanita Gupta, knowing that she will be a stalwart champion for all Americans and in particular communities that have been marginalised. At a time when we see assaults on our voting rights and a rise in hate crimes, our country needs a champion for civil rights like Vanita Gupta at the highest levels of the Justice Department," he said.
"As a long-standing champion of civil rights, Vanita Gupta is exactly the person we need to help lead the Justice Department and advance equal justice for all," said Damon Hewitt, acting president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.