Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On Today’s Vote To Advance The Historic And Exemplary Nomination Of Vanita Gupta To Be Associate Attorney General For Full Senate Consideration

April 15, 2021

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding President Biden’s nominee for Associate Attorney General, Vanita Gupta, and urged the Senate to discharge her nomination from the Judiciary Committee this afternoon. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks which can also be viewed here:

On another, less happy matter. This afternoon, the Senate will need to go through a rare procedure to discharge a nomination from the Judiciary Committee: Ms. Vanita Gupta to serve as Associate Attorney General.

The daughter of immigrants from India, Ms. Gupta is the first civil rights attorney and the first woman of color to ever be nominated for Associate Attorney General, the third-ranking official at the Department of Justice.

Her public track record is nothing short of exemplary. In her very first case after law school, Ms. Gupta won the release of several African-Americans who had been wrongly convicted by all-white juries in Texas—clients who eventually won a pardon from Texas Governor Rick Perry. She continued her work at the ACLU, where she launched a bipartisan criminal justice reform effort, before going on to lead the civil rights division of the Justice Department under President Obama.

Despite her sterling credentials, some of my Republican colleagues on the Judiciary Committee would have you believe that Ms. Gupta is some hair-raising, left-wing radical. In her hearing, Ms. Gupta was unfortunately subjected to a mind-numbingly repetitious line of questioning about whether or not she supports the police or wants to decriminalize all drugs. A conservative judicial organization launched a national ad campaign to smear her nomination. It was disgraceful.

Just yesterday, a Republican Senator on the Judiciary Committee grilled another DOJ nominee, Kristen Clarke, over an obviously satirical piece she published for her college newspaper.

The political right seems to relish in trying to score political points by connecting every Justice Department nominee to hot-button partisan issues, whether or not they have any relevance—sometimes to the point of absurdity.

And in the case of Ms. Gupta, the accusations of radicalism are especially false. Ms. Gupta has worked with stakeholders and legislators from all corners, including a number of Republican Senators during various criminal justice reform efforts. She has even been endorsed by—listen to this—the National Fraternal Order of Police.

Let me repeat that so my colleagues hear it: she has been endorsed by the National Fraternal Order of Police as well as the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, and the National Sheriffs’ Association, making the decrying that she’s a crazy, left-wing radical just absurd, and you wonder how and why they come to that conclusion.

Vanita Gupta will make an outstanding Associate Attorney General. The Senate should discharge her nomination from the Judiciary Committee this afternoon.