Law | Politics

Senate rejects Obama's nominee for civil rights position at DOJ

Debo Adegbile on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court. Photo from NAACP Legal Defense Fund

President Barack Obama criticized the Senate on Wednesday for blocking his nominee to lead the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice.

Debo Adegbile worked for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. He once signed onto a brief that supported an appeal by Mumia Abu-Jamal, an African-American man who was convicted of murdering a police officer.

The connection led the Senate to block Adegbile's nomination by a vote of 47 to 52. Seven Democrats joined Republicans in preventing Adegbile from moving forward in the process.

"The fact that his nomination was defeated solely based on his legal representation of a defendant runs contrary to a fundamental principle of our system of justice – and those who voted against his nomination denied the American people an outstanding public servant," Obama said in a statement.

Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada), the Senate majority leader who supports Adegbile, was the eighth Democrat to vote against the nomination. He did so in order to reserve his right to bring the matter up again.

Among other duties, the Civil Rights Division at DOJ handles Indian voting rights cases and minority voting rights cases.

Get the Story:
Senate Democrats help block Obama nominee for civil rights post (The Washington Post 3/6)
Democrats in Senate Reject Pick by Obama (The New York Times 3/6)

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