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Vanita Gupta

Associate Attorney General

Vanita Gupta is currently the Associate Attorney General at the Justice Department, where she also worked in the Civil Rights Division under the Obama administration. An alum of The Leadership Conference On Civil and Human Rights, the ACLU and the NAACP, Gupta has affirmed her strong support for reproductive, LGBTQIA+ and human rights throughout her career.

Vanita Gupta Was Confirmed As Associate Attorney General In April 2021

Vanita Gupta Was Confirmed As Associate Attorney General On April 21, 2021. “The Senate voted 51-49 on Wednesday to confirm Vanita Gupta as associate attorney general, the third-highest ranking official at the Justice Department.” [Axios, 4/21/21]

Vanita Gupta Was Reported As Biden’s Nominee For Associate Attorney General On January 6, 2021

AP News Reported Vanita Gupta As President-Elect Biden’s Nominee For Associate Attorney General. “Biden is expected to announce Garland’s appointment on Thursday, along with other senior leaders of the department, including former homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco as deputy attorney general and former Justice Department civil rights chief Vanita Gupta as associate attorney general, the No. 3 official. He will also name an assistant attorney general for civil rights, Kristen Clarke, the president of Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, an advocacy group.” [AP News, 1/6/21]

Gupta’s Biography Is Listed On The Biden-Harris Transition Website. “JUSTICE NOMINEES AND APPOINTEES … Vanita Gupta … Associate Attorney General” [Biden-Harris Transition, 1/7/21]

Gupta Has Shown Support For The Freedom Of Information Act

Gupta Remarked On The Importance Of The Freedom Of Information Act During A Sunshine Week 2022 Celebration. "As the Associate Attorney General, I am privileged to serve as the department’s Chief FOIA Officer. I take this obligation seriously – throughout my career outside of government, I have relied on the FOIA’s disclosure mandates and have seen firsthand the critical role that the FOIA plays in ensuring the public’s access to government records. It is through the FOIA that journalists, advocates and the public remain informed well enough to make real our ideal of a democracy governed by the people and for the people.The government dedicates substantial resources to implementing the FOIA. Every year, agencies receive and process between 700,000 to 800,000 requests, releasing millions of pages of records to the public. Indeed, just last year, the government processed 838,688 requests. The FOIA also requires agencies to proactively disclose certain categories of records, and just last year the government posted over 32 million proactive disclosures on its websites.We at the department are always looking to improve our FOIA implementation. I want to thank the Attorney General for his leadership and support of the FOIA mission both here at the department and across government, and we are excited that later this week, the Attorney General will be issuing new guidelines that underscore our commitment to administering the FOIA with a presumption of openness." [Department of Justice, 3/14/22]

Gupta Reiterated Her Support For Reproductive And LGBTQIA+ Rights In Response To The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Written Questions For The Record

Gupta Reiterated Her Support For Reproductive Rights

Gupta Pledged To Follow Supreme Court Precedent, Including Roe v. Wade. “Roe v. Wade is established precedent that the Supreme Court has reaffirmed many times. If confirmed as Associate Attorney General my duty will be to enforce the Constitution and other federal laws.” [Senate Judiciary Committee, accessed 3/23/21]

Gupta Reiterated Her Support For LGBTQIA+ Rights

Gupta Pledged To Advance President Biden’s Executive Order On Combatting Anti-LGBTQIA+ Discrimination. “As the President’s Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation provides, every person should be treated with respect and dignity and should be able to live without fear, no matter who they are or whom they love. All persons should receive equal treatment under the law, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation. Transgender people can be discriminated against because their gender identity does not match the sex they were assigned at birth. If confirmed, I will enforce federal law and, as Attorney General Garland has explained, advance the Administration’s policy program consistent with the Department’s objective assessment of the law. I understand that a number of pending legal challenges concern the rights of transgender individuals to participate in schools’ athletic programs, and that the Department recently withdrew some filings that the prior Administration made in some of those cases. Because I am not in the Department, I have not been privy to any ongoing conversations about such matters.” [Senate Judiciary Committee, accessed 3/23/21]

Gupta Said It Would Be Inappropriate To Dictate The Personal Medical Decisions Of Transgender People. “In your hearing, I asked you to identify an age at which it would be inappropriate to grant a gender reassignment surgery to a child, other than surgeries on infants born intersex. You did not answer the question. At what age would it be inappropriate to grant a gender reassignment surgery to a child, other than surgeries on infants who are born intersex? RESPONSE: A person’s gender identity is a highly personal matter; each situation is unique, whether involving a minor or an adult, and any decision to receive associated medical treatment is similarly personal and highly particular to the individual. If I am confirmed as Associate Attorney General, it will not be my mandate to proscribe rules for how individual families and persons should address these very personal situations. I will enforce all federal laws, and work to ensure that every person is treated with respect and dignity and should be able to live without fear, no matter who they are or whom they love.” [Senate Judiciary Committee, accessed 3/23/21]

As Deputy Legal Director Of The ACLU, Gupta Defended The Free Speech Rights Of Anti-LGBTQIA+ Protestors, But She Acknowledged Her Strong Disagreement With Their Views. “In your confirmation hearing, you were asked if you had ever defended the speech of someone you disagreed with. You could not think of anyone. Can you think of anyone whose right to free speech you have publicly defended despite disagreeing with their message? RESPONSE: While I was Deputy Legal Director of the ACLU, the organization defended the rights of anti-gay protestors to protest at the funerals of LGBTQ people. In the course of my work, I frequently had to defend the ACLU’s participation in this case, even though I vehemently disagreed with the protestors’ message and method of delivering it.” [Senate Judiciary Committee, accessed 3/23/21]

During Her Confirmation Hearing, Gupta Made Favorable Comments On Reproductive And LGBTQIA+ Rights

Gupta Made Favorable Comments On Reproductive Rights

Gupta Affirmed Roe v. Wade And Vowed To Uphold Federal Law And The Constitution. “[Sen. Ted Cruz:] But let's just start with a substantive question, is there anyis it permissible for the government to prohibit partial birth abortion yes or no? [Gupta:] Senator my duty, if confirmed, will be to federal laws and the Constitution. Roe v. Wade is established precedent and has been reaffirmed numerous times by the courts and my duty will be to enforce the federal laws and the Constitution.” [Senate Judiciary Committee, 2/25/21]

Gupta Acknowledged The Strong Public Support For Upholding Roe v. Wade. “[Sen. Amy Klobuchar:] You also believe that Roe v. Wade is settled law, is that right? [Gupta:] That's correct. [Sen. Klobuchar:] And interestingly enough, would you be surprised that the vast majority of Americans agree with you that it should be settled law and it shouldn't be changed? [Gupta:] I understand that from reading public opinion about it, yes.” [Senate Judiciary Committee, 2/25/21]

Gupta Made Favorable Comments On LGBTQIA+ Rights

When Senator Ted Cruz Asked About The Equality Act, Gupta Promised To Enforce Religious Liberty And Anti-Discrimination Laws. “[Sen. Cruz:] Do you support the Equality Act's repeal of RFRA’s religious liberty protections? [Gupta:] Senator, if confirmed as associate attorney general, my duties will be to enforce laws to protect religious liberty and the anti-discrimination laws that the Justice Department must enforce.” [Senate Judiciary Committee, 2/25/21]

When Senator Mike Lee Asked About Gender-Affirming Care, Gupta Vowed To Protect The Dignity Of All People And Enforce Federal Civil Rights Laws. “[Sen. Mike Lee:] I appreciate that South Dakota in the not too distant past considered a bill to limit gender reassignment surgeries for children -- for children under the age of 16. My understanding is that the bill failed, but when it failed inside the South Dakota legislature, you -- you made some statements to the effect that you were quote ‘so happy’ and quote ‘so thankful’ that that these surgeries would be universally available to children under the age of 16. At what age then if if -- if it's not appropriate to limit these surgeries to children under the age of 16, at what age would it be inappropriate to, to, to grant a gender reassignment surgery decision to a child other than surgeries on infants, were someone who has been born in an intersex category? [Gupta:] Senator I believe that everyone must be treated with dignity and respect. These are -- I'm assuming very personal decisions I get made in families. My job, if I'm confirmed as associate attorney general will be to enforce existing laws, obviously protecting the dignity of all people as is in our federal civil rights laws. But -- and that will be my mandate at the Justice Department.” [Senate Judiciary Committee, 2/25/21]

When Asked Again About Health Care For Trans People, Gupta Said It Would Be Highly Improper For The Justice Department To Get Involved In Personal Medical Decisions. “[Sen. Lee:] And where this sort of thing is appropriate, do you believe that parents should give their consent before such a surgery is performed? [Gupta:] Senator, honestly there's -- the facts here matter. There's so many facts in any particular individual circumstances and I don't believe it's for the Justice Department if I'm confirmed to be opining on that kind of very personal decision that gets made in families or by individuals. In fact, I believe it would be highly improper. And so again, my allegiance will be to enforcing existing existing federal laws and ensuring that the dignity of all Americans is protected.” [Senate Judiciary Committee, 2/25/21]

Gupta Pledged To Affirm The Bostock Supreme Court Decision, Said LGBTQIA+ Individuals Have The Right To Identify Freely And Vowed To Uphold Federal Civil Rights Laws. “I believe that the issue of how one defines sex and sex discrimination in our laws has been decided in the Bostock decision by the United States Supreme Court and I will if confirmed, be enforcing all federal law and Supreme Court precedent…President Biden has been very clear and forthright about his support to protect all LGBTQ people in an executive order. I think also supported by Bostock which implies and Title 7 as you know. And he has asked federal agencies to look at and consider application of the Bostock decision in other federal statutes as long as it's consistent with the law. And if I am confirmed, I believe in supporting the dignity and well-being of all people in accordance with our federal laws and the Constitution…I believe that LGBTQ people have the right and dignity to be identified as they see fit as do all Americans. And if I am confirmed, I will be enforcing federal civil rights laws and the Constitution in upholding that value.” [Senate Judiciary Committee, 2/25/21]

Gupta Has An Excellent Record On Reproductive, LGBTQIA+, And Human Rights

Gupta Has An Excellent Record On Reproductive Rights

Gupta Tweeted Her Organization’s Call For The Supreme Court To Strike Down Abortion Restrictions In Louisiana That Negatively Impacted Low-Income Black Women And Women Of Color.

[Vanita Gupta Twitter, 6/29/20]

Gupta Subsequently Tweeted Her Support For Congress To Pass The Women’s Health Protection Act And Secure Reproductive Rights.

[Vanita Gupta Twitter, 6/29/20]

Gupta Objected Sarah Pitlyk’s Nomination To The Federal Judiciary Due To Pitlyk’s Extreme Views On Abortion, Surrogacy, And Fertility Treatments. “Sarah Pitlyk is unqualified and unfit for a lifetime position on our federal courts. Lacking the experience required to serve has earned her a Not Qualified rating by the ABA. She has defended the most extreme, anti-abortion laws our nation has seen to date, but the ideological demagoguery that she exhibits goes far beyond her outspoken opposition to Roe. Pitlyk also chided surrogacy and IVF, demonstrating that she is willing to place ideology over equality. Nominated by a President blatantly packing the courts with people who will roll back reproductive rights, her confirmation would put people’s lives at risk. Missourians deserve better.” [The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, 10/31/19]

Gupta Has An Excellent Record On LGBTQIA+ Rights

Gupta Tweeted Praise For The Supreme Court’s Decision Affirming Anti-Discrimination Protections For LGBTQIA+ Workers.

[Vanita Gupta Twitter, 6/15/20]

Gupta Published An Op-Ed In Support Of The Equality Act. “Championed in the House by U.S. Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., the Equality Act would ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) communities have equal access to their rights under the law. Why is that so important? Today, it is legal in 30 states to fire someone because they are, or are believed to be, LGBTQ. It is legal to deny them housing. To kick them out of a retail store. And to perpetrate any number of indignities — simply because of a person’s gender identity or who they love. We are not the land of bigotry. We are the land of the free. Look at the polls: Nearly seven in 10 Americans favor nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people. The majority holds in every single state. But the Equality Act isn’t necessary just because it’s popular — it’s necessary because it catapults us closer to our founding promise of equal justice for all.” [Providence Journal, 6/19/19]

Gupta Has An Excellent Record On Human Rights

Gupta Crticized The Trump Administration For Sabotaging The 2020 Census

Gupta Wrote An Op-Ed Criticizing The Trump Administration For Sabotaging The 2020 Census. “The Trump administration is doing everything it can to sabotage the 2020 Census so that it reflects an inaccurate and less diverse portrait of America. Its latest effort involves quietly compressing the census timeline to all but guarantee a massive undercount. Congress must intervene to make certain this does not happen. Rushing census operations, as the administration is attempting to do, ensures the bureau won’t count millions of people — especially those hit hardest by the pandemic. It will leave the country with inaccurate numbers that deprive communities of resources, political power and the federal assistance necessary to recover from the pandemic for the next 10 years.” [Washington Post, 8/3/20]

Gupta Called For Police Reform Following The Police Killing Of George Floyd

In The Wake Of George Floyd’s Death, Gupta Wrote An Op-Ed Calling For The Justice Department And Officials At All Levels To Adopt Meaningful Police Reform. “The Trump administration long ago ceded any moral authority and openly stirs racial hostility and division. Under attorneys general Jeff Sessions and William P. Barr, the department has effectively abandoned the use of pattern and practice investigations. Instead, it has focused on dismantling police reform efforts, gutting existing consent decrees and halting new investigations. Alarmingly, Barr warned last year that if communities did not show deference to police, they ‘might find themselves without the police protection they need’…Local, state and federal officials must promote greater police accountability, including by banning racial profiling and prohibiting excessive force maneuvers such as chokeholds. Congress must create a national use-of-force standard; expand federal charging options for holding officers criminally accountable; establish a national registry of police misconduct so law enforcement leaders don’t hire officers with histories of disciplinary actions; incentivize states to adopt best practices through funding; and revisit the qualified immunity doctrine. It is easy to feel despair. I have felt it at times, too. But that will not save lives. Our nation will one day have a Justice Department committed to constitutional policing — one with the moral authority to lead a sincere reckoning with our history of state violence and white supremacy against black communities and other communities of color. Until then, leaders who care about healing our nation must take action now to honor George Floyd’s life.” [Washington Post, 6/2/20]

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