US President Joe Biden has said that he has nominated “eminently qualified and highly respected” Indian-origin lawyer Vanita Gupta to the Justice Department as she has spent her entire career fighting to advance racial equity and justice.
If confirmed, 46-year-old Gupta would be the first woman of colour to serve as Associate Attorney General, which is the third-ranking official at the powerful Department of Justice.
President Biden, in his remarks on Tuesday on the verdict in the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd, said that the State and local government and law enforcement needs to step up, but so does the federal government.
“That’s why I have appointed the leadership at the Justice Department that I have, that is fully committed to restoring trust between law enforcement and the community they are sworn to serve and protect,” he said.
Biden said that he has complete confidence in the leadership and commitment of Attorney General Merrick Brian Garland.
“I have also nominated two key Justice Department nominees – Vanita Gupta and Kristen Clarke – who are eminently qualified, highly respected lawyers who have spent their entire careers fighting to advance racial equity and justice.
“Vanita and Kristen have the experience and the skill necessary to advance our administration’s priorities to root out unconstitutional policing and reform our criminal justice system, and they deserve to be confirmed,” Biden said.
Last week, the US Senate postponed a scheduled floor vote on the nomination of Ms Gupta to serve as Associate Attorney General, the third-highest position in the Department of Justice, after hours of debate on her candidature.
Opposition Republicans have vocally opposed Ms Gupta’s nomination. They pressed her over previous tweets critical of Republicans and accused her of being an “extreme partisan advocate” at a contentious confirmation hearing last month.