It’s a great day at the DOJ. New’s broke yesterday that President Obama intends to nominate the current director of the ACLU’s Center for Justice, Vanita Gupta to head the civil rights division of the Justice Department. Gupta is best known for her staunch disapproval of the war on drugs, particularly of people of color. Beyond her director duties at the ACLU she also leads up their National Campaign to End Mass Incarceration.
Gupta is a Philadelphia native, born to immigrant parents who has regularly received support from both sides of the aisle for her civil rights work, specifically on prison reform. Her area of focus and expertise is specifically in sentencing for drug offenses, which she touched on in an op-ed last week.
“It’s time for states to end the costly criminalization of marijuana and recalibrate sentencing laws so that the punishment actually fits the crime as opposed to a politician’s reelection agenda.”
With several legalization efforts on the ballot next month, this sends a strong but subtle message from the oval office on their evolving views relative to marijuana legalization. It remains to be seen how effective Gupta will be in her new role but this is certainly a step in the right direction.
Photo Credit: NYU