April 21, 2021

Durbin: We Need Vanita Gupta at the Department of Justice

Durbin: Gupta is the right person at the right time for this position given her previous efforts to reform police departments

WASHINGTON – Ahead of the vote on cloture and confirmation on the nomination of Vanita Gupta, President Joe Biden’s nominee to be Associate Attorney General, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today called on his Republican colleagues to support her nomination.  In a speech on the Senate floor, Durbin argued that Ms. Gupta is a dedicated, eminently qualified leader who can restore integrity and independence in the Justice Department.  He also argued that Ms. Gupta is the right person at the right time for this position given her previous efforts to reform police departments in a number of cities when she led the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

“She’s the right person for this job in the Department of Justice as Associate Attorney General.  She’s unquestionably well qualified.  She would be the first civil rights attorney and the first woman of color to be an Associate Attorney General,” Durbin said.  “Anybody who has turned on the news in the past week sees that we need police reform.  We need to repair the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve.  Vanita Gupta has a proven track record of doing just that.  As head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, she led this across the nation and did it in a way that brought people together—civil rights advocates, community leaders, and police and law enforcement.  As a result, she has incredibly broad support.”

During his speech, Durbin also addressed a few of the false attacks that are being leveled against Ms. Gupta, including right-wing claims that she supports defunding the police.  Nothing could be further from the truth—Ms. Gupta does not support defunding the police and has instead spent much of her career advocating for greater resources for law enforcement, such as body worn cameras and officer wellness and safety programs.

“When I hear them [Republicans] talk about ‘defunding the police’ and how she’s anti-police, how in the world do the Republicans explain the fact that she has the support of every major law enforcement group in this country,” Durbin said.  “They just conveniently ignore that fact.  If anything they said were really true, do you think the Fraternal Order of Police would be standing behind her as well as the civil rights community?” 

Video of Durbin’s floor remarks is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s floor remarks is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s floor remarks is available here for TV Stations.

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