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Press Release

Brennan Center Sees Deep Commitment to Voting Rights and Justice Reform in President-Elect Biden’s Picks for Top DOJ Leaders

"These nominations are a good sign for the strength of our Constitution," says Brennan Center president Michael Waldman.

January 7, 2021
Contact: Rebecca Autrey, Media Contact, rebecca.autrey@nyu.edu, 202-753-5904

President-elect Joe Biden today announced he will nominate Vanita Gupta to be associate attorney general and Kristen Clarke as assistant attorney general in charge of the civil rights division. Gupta is president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and Clarke is president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Both have worked closely with the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law.

Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice, had this reaction:

"These nominations are a good sign for the strength of our Constitution. Vanita Gupta and Kristen Clarke will restore integrity and independence to the Department of Justice. Each of them brings a fierce dedication to civil rights, racial equity, and to the rule of law. If confirmed they would take office at a critical moment for the Justice Department. We look forward to working with them and the rest of the Biden administration on civil rights, criminal justice reform, and voting rights.

"In Vanita Gupta and Kristen Clarke, President-Elect Biden has chosen two formidable leaders in the struggle for civil rights for all Americans. The Brennan Center has had the privilege of partnering with both leaders and their organizations. We have seen up close the tremendous contributions each has made to the law and policy protecting civil rights and voting rights, and advancing criminal justice reform.

"Vanita Gupta is a gifted leader. As Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights in the Obama administration, she pioneered accountability for abusive police departments. At the helm of the Leadership Conference, she has been a tremendously effective leader in the fight to protect voting rights, to advance reforms, and to fight for elections that are free, fair, secure, and safe. She helped lead the fight for federal sentencing reform and has a longstanding record in the fight to end mass incarceration in the United States.

"Kristen Clarke is a tremendous leader in the fight for civil rights, a skilled attorney and an organizer of the legal community to protect voting rights and racial justice. The Lawyers' Committee, among other things, leads the election protection effort that enlists attorneys across the country to help ensure that thousands of voters are able to cast their ballots. She has a compelling career as a former top prosecutor in New York state and a civil rights litigator. She will restore the spirit and purpose of the storied civil rights division of the Justice Department."