Washington, April 22
Prominent Indian-American civil rights lawyer Vanita Gupta has been confirmed by the US Senate as Associate Attorney General, making her the first person of colour to occupy the third highest position at the Department of Justice.
Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski broke away from her party colleagues to support Gupta (46), giving the Democrats 51 votes to see her through the confirmation on Wednesday. The Senate voted 51-49 to confirm her.
Vice President Kamala Harris was present in the Senate to cast her vote in case of a tie. The two parties have 50 members each in the 100-seat US 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 is also the first civil rights lawyer to serve at one of the top three positions at the Department of Justice.
The daughter of Indian immigrants who was born and raised in the Philadelphia area, Gupta has had an illustrious career of fighting for civil rights.
At 28, she started her career at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund where she successfully overturned the wrongful drug convictions of 38 Black Americans in Texas. — PTI