WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Senate confirmed Vanita Gupta as associate attorney general at the Justice Department, where she will help reform our criminal justice system and advance civil rights. The 51-49 confirmation vote follows months of harsh GOP opposition to the nomination.
Margaret Huang, president and CEO of the Southern Poverty Law Center Action Fund, issued the following statement in response.
“Vanita Gupta’s confirmation despite months of unrelenting Republican criticism will usher in a new era at the Justice Department. She is the first woman of color to serve as associate attorney general and will bring extraordinary, unparalleled experience to the position and a strong record of fighting for civil rights and justice. She has held top leadership positions at the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the ACLU, and the Obama administration. With this experience, Gupta is incredibly well-versed at bringing together leaders from all walks of life — civil rights, law enforcement, business, and more — to advance a common good.
“We have no question that Gupta will make our Justice Department stronger. The next step forward for the Senate is to confirm Kristen Clarke as the head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.
“Clarke has been a tireless champion of civil rights for decades. She too has worked with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and currently leads the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, one the country’s more prominent national civil rights organizations. She also worked at the Civil Rights Division at the beginning of her career — the very group she is now being tapped to lead.
“And yet, her nomination has come under fierce fire from Republicans who have mischaracterized her previous statements and demonized her. This is an outrageous attack on a person with a clear record of fighting for justice. We’re calling on Congress to end this partisan attack and confirm Kristen Clarke.”