Senate Casts Outrageous Vote Denying Debo Adegbile to be Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights

On Wednesday, March 5, 2014, the full U.S. Senate failed on a procedural vote to support the nomination of Debo Adegbile to be the next Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.  By a vote of 51 nays to 48 yeas (the vote later became 52 nays to 47 nays, as Senator Harry Reid (NV) changed his vote to a nay vote only for procedural reasons so he could bring the nomination up again at a later time), the Senate failed to invoke cloture, or end debate, on the nomination.   

On November 18, 2013, President Obama made an inspired choice by nominating Mr. Debo Adegbile to serve as Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, to succeed Thomas Perez, who had been confirmed to serve as United States Secretary of Labor. Mr. Adegbile was re-nominated on January 6, 2014, as his nomination had expired under the rules of the US Constitution.  On February 6, 2014, the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary reported Adegbile's nomination to the full Senate with favorable recommendation.  

The NAACP strongly supports Mr. Adegbile’s nomination.  Mr. Adegbile is not only intimately familiar with the civil rights problems and challenges of racial and ethnic minorities throughout the United States, but he also has a proven track record in taking a proactive approach to implementing long term, permanent solutions to these problems.  As the nation’s chief law enforcement officer for civil rights, Debo Adegbile would bring considerable depth and breadth of understanding our federal civil rights laws—and how they should be applied and enforced. He has litigated cases across civil rights subject areas, from voting rights and fair housing, to employment discrimination and equal educational opportunity.  He has proven himself to be a skilled litigator and extraordinary lawyer, with an abiding respect for the Constitution and to the right of every American to receive the best judicial representation possible.  For more than a decade, Mr. Adegbile has been a leading voice in the civil rights community on issues as varied as voting rights, equal opportunity programs, disability rights, civil rights, the rights of victims of domestic violence, human rights, and housing rights.  Mr. Adegbile has also argued more civil rights cases before the U.S. Supreme Court than any other Assistant Attorney General nominee in modern history, including twice defending the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act.  Mr. Adegbile’s intelligence, his judicial temperament, as well as his willingness to work with all involved parties and his broad legal experience focusing on civil rights is both well known and extremely respected.

Senators, law enforcement, including the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, and civil rights advocates agree: Adegbile consistently demonstrates his deep understanding of how civil rights laws can and should be used to ensure that all Americans can work and live free from discrimination.