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Vanita Gupta Photo: Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Local and federal law enforcement officials are backing Vanita Gupta, President Biden’s nominee for associate attorney general, according to letters sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee and obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: The Major County Sheriffs of America noted Gupta “emphasized that she does not support efforts to ‘defund the police'” and highlighted her desire to improve criminal justice through methods that include increased training for law enforcement officials.

  • Biden broke from some progressives on the campaign trail when he repeatedly stated that he does not support defunding the police. But he supports other reforms, like increasing the DOJ's oversight of police departments.

The letters of support were sent by the Major County Sheriffs of America and the Federal Law Enforcement Officials Association.

  • In its letter, the Federal Law Enforcement Officials Association praised Gupta’s “dedication toward the advancement of civil rights,” arguing that it should “go a long way towards restoring the public trust.”

The other side: The Judicial Crisis Network, a conservative group, has launched an ad campaign seeking to challenge Gupta’s nomination. “When our cities burned Gupta could’ve stood for law and order, for victims. Instead she advocated to let convicts out of jail,” the ad claims.

Background: Gupta has a deep background in the civil rights space, previously working for groups like the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the American Civil Liberties Union.

  • She served as acting assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division under President Obama.
  • If confirmed, Gupta would be the first woman of color to serve in this role.

What’s next: The letters of support come as Biden seeks to fill top Justice Department positions. Judge Merrick Garland, Biden’s pick for attorney general, completed his hearings this week.

  • Gupta’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled for March 9.

Editor's note: The headline has been corrected to reflect that Gupta is the nominee for associate attorney general, not assistant attorney general.

Go deeper

Chauvin trial leaves cities, activists across America on edge

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The impact of the Derek Chauvin trial is reverberating far beyond the walls of the downtown Minneapolis courtroom.

The state of play: With the trial set to enter its third week, activists across America are watching the proceedings unfold with heavy skepticism that what they perceive as justice will be served.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

The dispiriting housing boom

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It's a discouraging scene: Bidding wars, soaring prices, and fears that homeownership is becoming out of reach for millions of Americans. We're in a housing frenzy, driven by a massive shortage of inventory — and no one seems to be happy about it.

Why it matters: Not all bubbles burst. Real estate, in particular, tends to rise in value much more easily than it falls. Besides, says National Association of Realtors chief economist Lawrence Yun, this "is not a bubble. It is simply lack of supply."

Updated 5 hours ago - World

China's COVID vaccines have low efficacy rates, official says

China Centers for Disease Control director Gao Fu at a March event in Beijing, China. Photo: Han Haidan/China News Service via Getty Images

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention's director said Saturday authorities are considering mixing COVID-19 vaccines because the country's domestically made doses "don't have very high protection rates," per AP.

Why it matters: The remarks by the Gao Fu at a news conference in the southwestern city of Chengdumark mark the first time a Chinese health official has spoken publicly about the low efficacy of vaccines made in China.