President Joe Biden’s nomination of Lisa Monaco to be deputy attorney general of the United States was confirmed by the Senate on Tuesday.
The bipartisan vote for Monaco was 98-2. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) were the only two opposing votes.
At her March 9 nomination hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Monaco said one key priority for her will be “reaffirming the values of the Department of Justice—its independence, its focus, and mission—on enforcement of federal law, without fear or favor.”
A second priority will be on “protecting the American people from a range of threats,” she said. “We cannot stop being vigilant with respect to foreign terrorism, cyber-threats.”
Monaco will move into the No. 2 spot at the Justice Department from law firm O’Melveny, where she served as a partner for the last two years. She led the firm’s coronavirus task force and was co-chair of its data security and privacy practice.
Before joining O’Melveny, Monaco served as President Barack Obama’s homeland security and counterterrorism advisor from 2013-17. In this role, she was responsible for advising the president on all aspects of counterterrorism policy and strategy and coordinating homeland security-related activities throughout the executive branch on issues ranging from terrorist attacks to cyber-security and natural disasters.
Prior to the White House, Monaco spent 15 years working in senior management positions in the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigations. She began her legal career as a law clerk to the Honorable Jane Roth on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
The nomination of Vanita Gupta to serve as associate attorney general—the Justice Department’s No. 3 position—was voted on by the Senate on Wednesday and passed by a 51-49 margin. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) broke ranks from her Republican counterparts, many of whom believed Gupta’s position were too “radical.”
“She’s levied attacks on members of this body, and during the confirmation process, she employed the loosest possible interpretation of her oath to deliver honest testimony,” Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said.
Gupta, who was formerly head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division under Obama, will be the first woman of color to serve as associate attorney general.