School of Law Dean Peter Bo Rutledge gave introductory remarks, while law faculty members Clare Norins and John Meixner co-moderated, and SPIA Dean Matthew Auer provided closing remarks.
Vanita Gupta is the 19thUnited States Associate Attorney General and serves as the third-ranking official at the Department of Justice. Associate Attorney General Gupta supervises multiple litigating divisions within the Department of Justice, including the Civil Division, Civil Rights Division, Antitrust Division, Tax Division, and Environmental and Natural Resources Division. She also oversees the grant making components of the Department, including the Office of Justice Programs, the Office on Violence Against Women, and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services; and supervises the Office for Access to Justice, Office of Information Policy, the Community Relations Service, the Executive Office for United States Trustees, the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission, and the Service members and Veterans Initiative.
Associate Attorney General Gupta previously served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the nation’s oldest and largest coalition of non-partisan civil rights organizations in the United States.
Before serving in that capacity, from October 15, 2014, to January 20, 2017, Associate Attorney General Gupta served as Acting Assistant Attorney General and Head of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. Appointed by President Barack Obama as the chief civil rights prosecutor for the United States, Associate Attorney General Gupta advanced a wide range of civil rights enforcement matters.
Prior to her tenure leading the Civil Rights Division, Associate Attorney General Gupta served as Deputy Legal Director and the Director of the Center for Justice at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). In addition to managing litigation, Associate Attorney General Gupta created and led the ACLU’s Smart Justice Campaign aimed at promoting bipartisan justice reform while keeping communities safe. She began her legal career as an attorney at the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund.
Associate Attorney General Gupta graduated magna cum laude from Yale University and received her law degree from New York University School of Law, where later she taught a civil rights litigation clinic for several years
Gupta, Vanita; Rutledge, Peter B.; Norins, Clare R.; Meixner, John B. Jr.; and Auer, Matthew R., "2023 Judge Horace J. Johnson, Jr. Lecture on Race, Law and Policy with Vanita Gupta" (2023). Judge Horace J. Johnson Lecture on Race, Law and Policy. 3.