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Sen. Shelley Capito: Vanita Gupta Nomination Deserves Additional Scrutiny

President Joe Biden has nominated an individual who has advocated and advanced views to the left of most of the country to be the third most senior person at the U.S. Department of Justice.

Whether it’s decriminalizing drugs, eliminating qualified immunity, rolling back the Second Amendment or defunding the police, Vanita Gupta has a long track record of promoting radical policies that do not align with West Virginia values.

I have serious policy disagreements with her, and I believe that most West Virginians would as well. Her policies give me great pause. For starters, in a 2012 op-ed, Vanita Gupta wrote that states should decriminalize “all drugs.” That means decriminalizing potentially fatal drugs like fentanyl, heroin, methamphetamine, and more.

Not only was this concerning to learn, but when Ms. Gupta was confronted with her 2012 op-ed where she stated this, she denied it.

If a federal prosecutor who is also nominated to serve as the number three in charge at the Department of Justice can’t accept her mistakes from the past, how can she be trusted?

In West Virginia, we unfortunately know all too well the devastations caused by these illegal drugs that Ms. Gupta would like to legalize. It’s hard to imagine the level of devastation we would see if all of these drugs actually were legalized. And, it’s even harder to imagine that a nominee for a critical law enforcement position would hold this view.

It’s important that our Justice Department operate free from bias. In order to do that, the individuals leading the department must separate their personal views and beliefs from their job. Ms. Gupta does neither.

Based on Ms. Gupta’s track record of radical policy beliefs and inconsistencies with owning up to them, I am not confident she would separate her views as a private citizen from those as the Associate Attorney General.

Additionally, it’s clear she does not have the temperament the job requires after she launched personal attacks on my fellow colleagues and sitting federal judges. Not only did Ms. Gupta oppose President Trump’s nominations to the Supreme Court, but she also called the process a “sham,” “shameful,” “illegitimate,” and, when asked about expanding the Supreme Court she said, “Nothing is off the table.”

While these are actions and opinions that she has taken over time, it is a recent exchange at a committee that gives me even greater pause. In response to a question my colleague Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, asked her about whether she believed all Americans were racist, Ms. Gupta replied, “I think we all have implicit bias and racial bias, yes, I do.”

Justice is supposed to be blind, but when an individual who is nominated to a position of significance with the Department of Justice has such a skewed view of her fellow citizens, I cannot feel she would operate in fairness to all.

For these reasons I oppose Vanita Gupta’s nomination and hope my colleagues will do the same.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., serves on the following Senate committees: Appropriations, Environment and Public Works, Commerce, Science, & Transportation, and Rules and Administration.

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