On March 5, 2014 the Senate failed with a vote of 47-52 to move forward on the nomination of Debo Adegbile as the next head of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. The vote of 47-52 is disappointing to the disability and civil rights communities—Mr. Adegbile has spent his career litigating civil rights cases. It is not disputed that he holds the experience and credentials necessary for this position.
The Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice is critical to protecting the rights of all Americans with disabilities, as well as ethnic, racial, gender and religious minorities. It needs a leader with a strong civil rights record like Mr. Adegbile.
This vote sends a chilling signal to those who believe in protecting civil rights, the fundamental right to counsel, and equal protection under the law. His nomination was unfairly penalized for exercising the essential tenet in our democracy, the constitutionally guaranteed right to representation in a court of law. This is something DREDF holds of utmost importance. We join our colleagues in social justice and strongly urge Senator Reid to bring Mr. Adegbile up for a vote again and the Senate to swiftly confirm him.