As the chamber continues to process President Joe Biden’s nominees for picks across the federal government, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) was the only Republican in the Senate to vote in favor of the confirmation of Vanita Gupta as associate attorney general on Wednesday. That left Gupta with 51 votes in her favor — just enough to take on the position for which she was nominated.
Prior to her vote in favor of Gupta’s confirmation, Murkowski was also the only Republican Senator who voted in favor of a procedural measure to advance Gupta’s nomination to that final vote. The Alaska Senator said that she was reassured by the “passion that [Gupta] carries with her with the work that she performs.”
Murkowski also said as follows:
‘I asked [Gupta] point blank, ‘Why do you want this? Is this worth it?’ Because this has clearly been very hard on her as a nominee. And she paused and reflected a moment, and just spoke to how she feels called to serve in a very personal way that I thought was impactful… I am going to give the benefit of the doubt to a woman who I believe has demonstrated throughout her professional career to be deeply, deeply committed to matters of justice.’
Republicans criticized Gupta ahead of her confirmation over some of her past statements in support of liberal causes, although notably, she has received endorsements from law enforcement-aligned organizations. During a hearing covering her nomination last month, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) — without any apparent hint of self-awareness — complained that Gupta was supposedly “extreme” and “radical.” Cruz was one of a small number of Senators who, after the rioting at the Capitol in January, voted against confirming certain components of the 2020 presidential election results, yet he had the gall to call someone else “extreme” and “radical.”
51-49, Senate votes to break filibuster to advance Vanita Gupta’s nomination to DOJ. Murkowksi joined with Democrats. Kamala Harris, who is in the Senate, was not needed to break a tie
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) April 21, 2021
Gupta, for her part, said that she “regret[s] the harsh rhetoric” that she had “used at times in the last several years,” distinguishing her from Cruz yet again, who has yet to acknowledge the problems inherent in his refusal to accept the results of the democratic process. At the Justice Department, Gupta is slated to likely oversee issues including a newly launched civil rights investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department.
Looks like Vanita Gupta may not need VP Kamala Harris as the tiebreaker to get confirmed: GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski broke with Republicans and voted for cloture.
— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) April 21, 2021