Vanita Gupta is President Biden’s nominee to be Associate Attorney General. She is unfit for that role. She is unfit because of her radical view that every single American citizen and every single institution in the United States is inherently racist. She is unfit because she lacks the temperament to do the job, as evidenced by her relentless attacks on the integrity and character of judges and Senators alike, seemingly anytime she has disagreed with them. And she is certainly unfit based on her attempts to mislead me and my colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee as we considered her nomination.
Ms. Gupta has been before the Congress many times as a partisan advocate, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But her past appearances do offer a glimpse of what she believes when she isn’t seeking her votes for confirmation. Less than a year ago, June of last year, she came before the Senate Judiciary Committee to testify on police reform. When she was asked, “Do you believe all Americans are racist?” she replied, under oath, “Yes, I do.” Think about that: The person nominated by Joe Biden to oversee, among other things, the federal government’s civil rights enforcement says that she believes every single American is racist.
This preposterous idea that anyone and everyone is inherently racist is at the core of a pernicious ideology pushed by the left called “critical race theory.” But the position wasn’t an anomaly, a misstatement, or a new position for Ms. Gupta. In 2005 she published an article in the Fordham Law Review on what she called “Critical Race Lawyering.” In that article, Ms. Gupta argued that “the rule of law,” and “equal justice for all,” and “equal protection” aren’t the great bulwarks for our liberty, aren’t the signal achievements of our republic and our constitutional form of government, but instead “code words,” code words—that’s what she called them—for some kind of twisted racism. Anyone who thinks that “the rule of law” or “equal justice for all” or “equal protection” are simply “code words” for racism is unfit for any position in our government, but especially a position of leadership in the Department of Justice.
The concerns with Ms. Gupta’s nomination, though, are not limited to her extreme views on these or other topics. Ms. Gupta has made a career over the last few years on social media, attacking the character and integrity of federal judges, judicial nominees, and members of the Senate. She accused four different jurists currently on the Supreme Court—currently on the Supreme Court—of being liars, extremists, “dangerous,” or “opposed to civil and human rights.” She must have had a keyboard macro, she just hit a shortcut button and it said, “opposed to civil and human rights.” By my count, she has leveled similarly incendiary attacks on the integrity and character of around 50 currently-sitting federal judges. It could be more, I may have lost count when it got so high. I asked her about these attacks. While she said during her hearing that she “regrets” some of her rhetoric, she steadfastly refused to renounce these attacks on those judges.
Ms. Gupta has leveled similarly caustic comments against members of this body, posting online that dozens of members of the Senate are, you guessed it, “opposed to civil and human rights.” She accused one of our colleagues of being “a disgrace,” another of being a “hypocrite,” another of “failing her constituents.” At one point she commented, “How many of us are done with Susan Collins’s concerns?”
Now, I want to be clear: Disagreement with or even deep dislike of members of the Senate is not disqualifying for any position in the federal government. People are entitled to have their opinions. They are entitled to have their political views. But honestly, the Associate Attorney General of the United States must be able to effectively represent the United States in court while also working with Congress on important issues. It might be hard to represent the United States in court when you’ve accused dozens of federal judges of being “opposed to human civil rights,” or being a disgrace or a liar. Likewise, I wonder what Senator Collins thinks about Vanita Gupta being “done with” her concerns.
Perhaps most concerning, though, is that Ms. Gupta repeatedly misled the Judiciary Committee, under oath. Every single Republican member of the Judiciary Committee joined a letter on March 23, outlining some of her most blatant misrepresentations that she made during her hearing, and we asked the for a second hearing. That request was promptly refused. I ask unanimous consent that the March 23 letter be included in the record.
And finally, Mr. President, I have to observe something independent of Ms. Gupta herself. The discharge petition filed today requires that there had been a valid, tied vote in committee. That is the rule that we all agreed on at the beginning of this Congress. Yet, Ms. Gupta still has not received a valid vote in the Committee. In fact, during the markup of her nomination, just minutes into my 15-minute remarks, the chairman of the Committee cut off my remarks mid-sentence and called for a vote in violation of the Committee’s rules. I guess somehow allowing members to finish their statements —guaranteed to under the Committee’s rules—have somehow become inconvenient for the scheduling preferences of our Democratic colleagues. Or perhaps the committee’s meeting had been mismanaged and they were worried about the two-hour rule. And it wasn’t just me, my remarks were interrupted, but at least one Republican senator didn’t have an opportunity to speak at all. The Democrats simply broke the rules and voted out Ms. Gupta’s nomination not in accordance with Judiciary Committee rules. There must be consequences when the Democrats break the rules. And here’s what the consequences are going to be in this case: I will refuse consent or time agreements for the nomination of any U.S. Attorney from any state represented by a Democrat on the Judiciary Committee. What we need to have is a valid vote in committee in accordance with the committee rules. Not ramming through this nomination today.
Now today, we are faced not only with the choice of whether Vanita Gupta is fit to be Associate Attorney General. We are also faced with the question of whether to legitimize yet again the partisan bulldozing of the Senate’s rules if those rules are even marginally inconvenient, even in committee session. Going down that path will not improve the Senate. So, I will be voting no, and I urge my colleagues to do the same.