WASHINGTON — In response to the announcement that Associate Attorney General (AAG) Vanita Gupta will leave the Department of Justice in February, American Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Anthony D. Romero issued the following statement:
After three years of overseeing some of the most contentious legal issues in our nation, Vanita Gupta has not only made history by being the first woman of color and civil rights lawyer to serve as associate attorney general, but also by enacting policies that advance civil rights. As AAG, she has invoked deep change from establishing the Justice Department’s Reproductive Rights Task Force to leading police reform initiatives, and to negotiating our recent landmark settlement that prohibits U.S. officials from separating migrant families. Her commitment to the protection of rights for all of us leaves a legacy at the Justice Department that will not soon be forgotten.
“Vanita will be celebrated as a leader in the halls of the Department of Justice, just as she has been at the ACLU for her time as deputy legal director and director of our Center for Justice. Vanita hit the ground running during her time here, starting as a staff attorney with the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program, winning landmark cases in immigration detention and focusing on systemic criminal justice reform and education litigation.
Vanita’s departure from the Justice Department leaves a critical role unfilled at a time when our civil rights and liberties are being threatened from all sides. President Biden must act swiftly in nominating an associate attorney general that will continue to advance our country’s promise of equal justice under the law.”
Gupta worked at the ACLU from 2006-2014, during that time she served as the deputy legal director and led all of the ACLU’s work on criminal justice reform.