Author: The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights | Date: 08 March 2021
“I’m not at all surprised by the widespread support Vanita has earned given her strong track record as a proven consensus builder,” said Wade Henderson, interim president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “She is a strategic problem solver who is committed to building greater trust between our communities and the police. The number of conservatives and law enforcement officials that are going to bat for her tells me that her ability to listen and seek consensus is appreciated by all of those who know and work with her. The Senate should swiftly confirm her.”
With a long list of endorsements from conservative leaders, as well as law enforcement, including the Americans for Tax Reform, Koch Industries, Major Cities Chiefs Association, International Association of Chiefs of Police, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association, Police Executive Research Forum, and even the National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), the Huffington Post’s Ryan J. Reilly showcased in great detail the broad support for Gupta that crosses partisan lines and other divides.
Patrick Yoes, the national president of the FOP: "The FOP has maintained an ongoing collaborative dialogue that reflected a working relationship with Ms. Gupta which began in 2014 when she took the leadership role in the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice," Yoes wrote.
He continued, mentioning that Gupta "was in regular contact with the FOP [during her time at DOJ under the Obama administration] on matters of mutual concern or interest" and said she "always worked with us to find common ground even when that seemed impossible.
"Although in some instances our disagreements remain, her open and candid approach has created a working relationship that is grounded in mutual respect and understanding.
"This extensive interaction with Ms. Gupta over a period of years informs our belief that, if confirmed as Associate Attorney General, she will continue her practice of working with us to find solutions."
Chuck Wexler executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum: “When her nomination was announced, many of us were thrilled because she has a track record with law enforcement. She is supportive of what the police do. She gets what we do,” he continued.
Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus: “Vanita has been incredibly responsive and fair to those of us in policing. She is one of the smartest and most innovative leaders in the criminal justice arena.”
Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian of Middlesex County, Massachusetts: “[I’m] impressed with Vanita Gupta’s understanding of the issues facing our profession and her eagerness to partner with law enforcement leaders” working on solutions.
“Vanita understands that jails are often the largest mental health providers in their counties, and that’s simply unacceptable. I look forward to working with her and the Biden administration on innovative ways to construct a healthier and fairer criminal justice system.”
Sarah Guy, a senior advisor at the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP): “[Our] support for Ms. Gupta remains unchanged.” She continued, Gupta, “clearly demonstrated [a] deep understanding of, and continued support for, the policing profession.”
Grover Norquist, the founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform: “I have come to know and respect Ms. Gupta through our common work on criminal justice reform. I have found her to be strongly qualified, effective, principled, and driven by a desire to seek common purpose and consensus,” he continued.
“While she and I certainly do not see eye to eye on many issues, she is nonetheless a leader who I trust will bring the same principled approach as the Associate Attorney General of the U.S. Department of Justice.”
Michael Chertoff, former secretary of homeland security, U.S. Court of Appeals judge, and DOJ veteran: Gupta has “a deep reverence for the Constitution and the rule of law,” and led “diverse cross-partisan coalitions to tackle voting rights, constitutional policing, and criminal justice reform.”
Mark Holden, the former general counsel and senior vice president of Koch Industries: Gupta is “a principled leader who seeks to find common ground and will work with anyone committed to making the system better and more effective.”
Trey Grayson, the former secretary of state in Kentucky and chair of the Republican Association of Secretaries of State: Gupta is “a detailed professional who was both impressive and extraordinarily easy to work with,” as well as being “balanced, measured, and fair-minded.”
“I believe members of the Senate ― many of whom I also personally know and deeply respect ― should similarly be pleased with the president’s nomination of Ms. Gupta.” He continued, “she has this Republican’s full and enthusiastic support.”
In a defense of Gupta’s distinguished track record as a champion of civil rights, The Washington Post’s Editorial Board cites the broad array of law enforcement groups’ positive reviews of her nomination, saying: “Vanita Gupta is among the nation’s most esteemed civil rights lawyers, revered by liberals for her decades of effective, levelheaded advocacy, and by many of the nation’s biggest police and law enforcement groups for her measured, constructive approach.”
In Roll Call, Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today highlighted
In a separate Washington Post opinion piece, columnist Jonathan Capehart, citing wide-ranging support from Koch Industries to chiefs of police and sheriffs, pointed out: “That Gupta would reach across the ideological divide to work on criminal justice with someone who worked for the Koch brothers tells me that she sought solutions and support from kindred spirits.”
Since then, Fox News reported that current and former police chiefs in more than 53 cities across the country sent a letter of support to the Senate Judiciary Committee praising Gupta for her leadership and record.
“We know Ms. Gupta well," noting that she is "no stranger to police issues, having cut her teeth working on a police misconduct case as a young lawyer in Texas, and later leading the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice, where she undertook investigations for Ferguson, Cleveland, Baltimore, and Chicago police departments to ensure there was constitutional policing in those departments,” the letter reads.
The letter continues, stating that Gupta has "demonstrated a seriousness and willingness to understand the intense challenges, and even dangers, facing police officers with the intent of improving policing at large without degrading the overwhelming number of brave and honorable police officers.
"It is this solutions-oriented approach that we believe will serve Ms. Gupta extraordinarily well as Associate Attorney General," adding that they believe "local law enforcement always does well when there is a healthy partnership" with the Justice Department.
"We are confident that under Ms. Gupta’s leadership, the Justice Department will be a valuable partner to law enforcement organizations all throughout the country." The police chiefs then urged the Senate to quickly confirm Gupta.
Shortly after, The Hill reported that the National Sheriff’s Association – representing more than 3,000 sheriffs nationwide – penned a letter of support urging the Senate to swiftly confirm Gupta to the Justice Departments. In the letter, David Mahoney, Dane County sheriff, speaks highly of her ability to understand the toughest issues facing law enforcement, saying in part:
"I have known and worked with Ms. Gupta for several years, and have been extraordinarily impressed by her seriousness, her honesty, and her capacity to engage in fruitful and productive dialogue regarding policing and criminal justice.
"We have discussed common efforts in building trust, good will and mutual respect within our communities. Our discussions are always productive and filled with insight.
"I strongly believe that Ms. Gupta is exactly the type of leader who is needed in the Justice Department today," he added. "She possesses immense credibility among law enforcement leaders and community leaders. She is an effective communicator, a bridge-builder."
Defending Democracy Together, a conservative organization, launched an ad campaign to highlight Gupta’s work with, and support from Republicans and law enforcement agencies. The site reads: “Vanita Gupta has earned the respect of Republicans and law enforcement officials as an ally in the fight for criminal justice reform. Now, she must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Associate Attorney General.”