Earlier today, the Senate Judiciary Committee considered the controversial nomination of Vanita Gupta to be associate attorney general. The vote on Gupta's nomination ended in a tie. As reported by CNN:
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday deadlocked in a party-line vote on the nomination of Vanita Gupta to be associate attorney general, but her confirmation is still on track with the expected support of moderate Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
Gupta's nomination is controversial for a variety of reasons. So controversial, that the Republican members of the Judiciary Committee called for a second confirmation hearing prior to voting on the nomination:
Following her contentious appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Republican senators have demanded a second hearing for Vanita Gupta, President Biden’s associate attorney general nominee, citing her misleading statements to senators’ questions.
A letter signed by all eleven Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee outlined four key areas with major discrepancies in Gupta’s testimony: her support for eliminating qualified immunity, her support for decriminalizing all drugs, her support for defunding the police, and her record on the death penalty.
11 Senators claim that Vanita Gupta was intentionally misleading in her testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee. They are:@ChuckGrassley@LindseyGrahamSC@JohnCornyn@SenMikeLee@TedCruz@SenSasse@HawleyMO@SenTomCotton@SenJohnKennedy@SenThomTillis@MarshaBlackburn— JCN (@judicialnetwork) March 24, 2021
And as newly reported, Gupta may not even reach the threshold requirements for being a nominee in the first place:
[W]hile the letter centers on her advocacy work in public statements and Senate testimony, another area of Gupta’s advocacy raises new questions: her work as a registered lobbyist, as reported by Jerry Dunleavy in a new bombshell report in the Washington Examiner.
According to her public Open Secrets lobbying profile, as well as publicly available lobbying reports, Vanita Gupta lobbied on behalf of dark money interests at the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights on a host of issues, including: finance, government issues, health issues, housing, immigration, law enforcement and crime, labor, antitrust, workplace issues, civil rights and civil liberties, the District of Columbia, education, telecommunications, welfare, federal budget and appropriations, small business, family, abortion and adoption, and the Constitution.
Here’s where that becomes sticky for Gupta’s nomination: On January 20, President Biden issued an executive order specifically barring former lobbyists and registered agents entering government from participating in any particular matter on which they lobbied within two years of the date of their appointment. On its face, this would disqualify Gupta from working on any policy she previously lobbied for while at the dark-money funded Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
Vanita Gupta misled the Judiciary Committee during her hearing & refused to answer our written questions.— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) March 25, 2021
Now it appears she wasn’t forthcoming with even her initial paperwork. Her nomination shouldn't move forward until she answers for this misconduct. https://t.co/ttKWEVpRmj
Republican Senators spent most of today's Committee meeting highlighting the inconsistencies in the testimony that Gupta has provided as well as expressing concerns over whether she would be able to lead without getting too political.
Senator @ChuckGrassley: "It's hard to disentangle [Gupta's] legal career from her very progressive politics."— RNLA ⚖️ (@TheRepLawyer) March 25, 2021
Senator @JohnCornyn: "...in the case of legalization of drugs, including drugs like heroin, [Gupta] has, frankly, lied to each of you and the the whole committee."— RNLA ⚖️ (@TheRepLawyer) March 25, 2021
Our brave men and women in uniform deserve a leader at the Justice Department who will consistently stand up for the rule of law. Vanita Gupta won’t stand up for victims or law enforcement.— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) March 25, 2021
Our communities deserve better. I will be opposing her nomination. pic.twitter.com/wbJUQj3rOf
The hearing abruptly ended when Senator Durbin cut off Senator Cotton and proceeded with an out of order roll call vote before everyone was given the opportunity to speak on the nomination.
Before I could finish convincing my Democratic colleagues to vote against Vanita Gupta, Senator Durbin cut off my remarks and forced her through the Judiciary Committee despite the rules—the Senate equivalent of pulling a fire alarm to escape a test in high school. pic.twitter.com/qiK0D3piAb— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) March 25, 2021
Despite objections by my colleagues on the committee, Senator Durbin forced a sham roll call vote—both violating the rules and making it clear the Democrats know Gupta’s nomination is on life support. But what goes around comes around @SenatorDurbin. pic.twitter.com/z4pKDQMewo— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) March 25, 2021
Just remember that whenever Democrats talk about "unity" in elevated prose, this is how they *actually* govern.— Carrie Severino (@JCNSeverino) March 25, 2021
Senate Dems just casually nuked the Judiciary Committee rules to force through the Vanita Gupta nomination to DOJ.— Rachel Bovard (@rachelbovard) March 25, 2021
Gupta is unqualified and the GOP has asked for a second hearing because she provided misleading answers in the first.
As previously noted, Gupta's nomination will likely make it to the Senate floor. Republican and Democrat Senators alike should vote "no" on Vanita Gupta. Her record as a partisan activist make her ill-fitted to be third in charge at the the Department of Justice.
.@SenMikeLee: "Ms. Gupta's particularly divisive form of leadership is not what we need to unify our country. It's not what we need within the Department of Justice in a particularly prominent position as the #3 person in charge."— RNLA ⚖️ (@TheRepLawyer) March 25, 2021