The Senate on Wednesday narrowly voted to confirm Vanita Gupta to serve as associate attorney general, elevating a longtime civil rights attorney to the third-highest position inside the Justice Department, NPR reported.
Gupta was confirmed by a vote of 51 to 49, with Sen. Lisa Murkowski breaking ranks with her party.
Gupta, 46, will become the first woman of color in Justice Department history to serve as associate attorney general — a role in which she will oversee the department’s civil rights litigation, as well as its antitrust, civil and environment divisions, NPR reported.
Wednesday’s vote marked the culmination of a contentious confirmation process for Gupta, who faced Republican criticism for her progressive policies and her criticism of former President Donald Trump.
During her confirmation hearing, NPR reported that Gupta apologized for any “harsh rhetoric” she has used against Republicans, but still struggled to win GOP support.
Explaining her support for Gupta, Murkowski told NPR that while she was troubled by some of the nominee’s past remarks, she was persuaded by a lengthy personal conversation with the nominee.
“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,” Murkowski said.