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PIO Vanita Gupta is Biden's associate attorney general

President-elect Joe Biden listens as Vice President-elect Kamala Harris speaks during an event at The Queen theater in Wilmington on Thursday to announce key nominees for the Justice Department. (Inset)  Vanita Gupta
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President-elect Joe Biden listens as Vice President-elect Kamala Harris speaks during an event at The Queen theater in Wilmington on Thursday to announce key nominees for the Justice Department. (Inset) Vanita Gupta

Highlights

In another first for the Biden-Harris administration, Vanita Gupta has been nominated as the Associate Attorney General of the US, and if confirmed by the Senate, she will be the first woman of colour to hold the position

Washington: In another first for the Biden-Harris administration, Vanita Gupta has been nominated as the Associate Attorney General of the US, and if confirmed by the Senate, she will be the first woman of colour to hold the position.

President-elect Biden made the announcement late on Thursday and called Gupta "one of the most respected civil rights lawyers in America".

Biden said: "At every step, with every case, she fought for greater equity and the right to right the wrongs of a justice system where they existed."

While this is not the first time 45-year-old Gupta will be part of the Justice Department, having served as the head of the civil rights division under the Obama administration, the associate attorney general is the third-highest position in the US Department of Justice.

As mentioned by Biden, Gupta has had a long and illustrious career as a litigator, especially cases relating to civil rights.

After graduating from the New York University Law School, she joined the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) Legal Defence & Educational Fund as a legal fellow in 2001.

And it was here, aged 21, Gupta fought a famous case for 46 people, mostly Black, who were arrested on charges of drug trafficking and convicted with extraordinarily long sentences — 300 years, 90 years, 60 years and so on — in a small town in Texas.

According to a Huffington Post report, Gupta found out about the case in Texas' town Tulia through a documentary.

In 2001, a large drug bust had rounded up most Blacks in the town, which had a population of just 5,000. Of these, 46 were arrested and convicted.

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