Former American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Vanita Gupta will temporarily lead the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, the department said today.

Gupta will serve as acting assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division and principal deputy assistant attorney general. She steps into the role at a time when the department has zeroed in on civil rights issues with the ongoing tension in Ferguson, Mo., and when a number of department leadership positions, including Attorney General Eric Holder’s, are in transition.

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