Biden Civil Rights Nominee, Under Fire From the Right, Gets Some Jewish Backing

Vanita Gupta speaks during the announcement of President-elect Joe Biden’s Justice Department nominees in Wilmington, Delaware, on Jan. 7. (Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images via

By Ron Kampeas

WASHINGTON — Vanita Gupta, President Joe Biden’s nominee for a top civil rights enforcement job, has been targeted in recent weeks as an extremist by a number of conservative groups and the conservative media.

A couple of Jewish groups, the Anti-Defamation League and the National Council of Jewish Women, are expressing their support.

Gupta, who was tapped for the post of associate attorney general, the No. 3 job at the Justice Department, faces her first Senate confirmation hearings on Tuesday.

The ADL in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee last month and the NCJW in a letter last week to the same body cited their work with Gupta in her current capacity as the CEO of the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights, as well as her prior stints in the Obama administration leading the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, at the NAACP and at the American Civil Liberties Union.

“As a groundbreaking civil rights advocate with an extraordinary track record of success, Ms. Gupta is an ideal candidate to ensure that the pursuit of racial justice and equity take precedence among DOJ’s endeavors,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said.

NCJW’s chief policy officer, Jody Rabhan, said Gupta has “built consensus within the civil rights community on key efforts including voting rights, the 2020 census, federal courts, and justice reform.”

The ads attacking Gupta, spearheaded by the Judicial Crisis Network, and commentary on sites such as Fox News allege that Gupta backs defunding the police, but do not cite any evidence. Gupta notably has the backing of a number of police groups.


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