WASHINGTON: The Indian-American civil rights lawyer Vanita Gupta has become the first woman of colour to be chosen to the post of associate attorney general by the US Senate.
Vanita managed to occupy the third-highest position at the Department of Justice with the narrow margins votes of 51 -49.
"Congratulations to Vanita Gupta on making history as the first woman of colour to serve as associate attorney general. Now, I urge the Senate to confirm Kristen Clarke. Both are eminently qualified, highly respected lawyers who are dedicated to advancing racial equity and justice," commented President Joe Biden on Gupta's victory.
Gupta is a legendary figure in the US civil rights movement after having won the release of 38 people, most of them African-Americans, who had been wrongly convicted by all-White juries on drug charges in a Texas town.
Gupta was appointed as the Principal Deputy Associate Attorney-General and head of the Civil Rights Division under Barack Obama's administration.
She also served as the Deputy Legal Director and the Director of the Center for Justice at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) earlier.
Gupta made her way to the seat after fighting a smear campaign against her which is estimated to have run close to a million dollars by conservative and right-wing groups portraying her as a "radical" who was against law enforcement.
Defending Democracy Together (DDT), an organisation of conservatives who had opposed former President Donald Trump, countered with a campaign supporting Gupta, saying that she "has been building bridges across partisan divides, she has the broad backing of law enforcement".
Three groups of law enforcement officials, Fraternal Order of Police, Major County Sheriffs of America and Federal Law Enforcement Officials Association, also supported her.
Indian-American groups congratulated Gupta on her historic confirmation.
"She has become one of the foremost civil rights advocates in the country and will effectuate our highest ideals of justice as associate attorney general," said Neil Makhija, executive director of IMPACT, a leading Indian-American advocacy group.