Wednesday, October 15, 2014

ACLU's Vanita Gupta to head DOJ's Civil Rights Division

President Obama plans to nominate the ACLU's deputy legal director, Vanita Gupta, to head the DOJ's Civil Rights Division, WaPo's Sari Horwitz reports. Gupta has a strong record of civil rights activism as Unknownwell as support from unlikely sources -- including a former head of the NRA, the executive director of the Major Cities Chiefs Association, and Grover Norquist. Horwitz presents the highlights of Gupta's career:  

Her first case involved leading an effort to win the release of 38 defendants in Tulia, Tex., whose drug convictions and long sentences were discredited by her legal team. All of the defendants were pardoned in 2003 by Gov. Rick Perry, and Gupta helped negotiate a $5 million settlement for the defendants.


Gupta won a landmark settlement with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency on behalf of immigrant children detained at Hutto, a privately run prison in Taylor, Tex., which ended “family detention” at the facility. She also has challenged racial disparities in high school graduation rates in Florida and successfully challenged the denial of passports to Mexican Americans born to midwives in southern border states. And she managed a project that ended HIV segregation in U.S. prisons.


Since 2008, Gupta has taught civil rights litigation and advocacy clinics at New York University School of Law. She received her JD from New York University School of Law and her BA from Yale University.

The position has remained unoccupied ever since Tom Perez began his term atop the Deptartment of Labor. Earlier this year, the Obama administration failed to get the NAACP Legal Defense Fund's Debo Adegbile confirmed by the Senate. Opponents made hay on Adegbile's involvement in Mumia Abu-Jamal's appeal of his conviction for the 1981 killing of a Philadelphia police officer. In the end, the Senate rejected him, 47-52.

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