NEW YORK—Yesterday, the U.S. Senate voted to block consideration of the nomination of Debo P. Adegbile to serve as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Justice. Demos Vice President of Legal Strategies Brenda Wright issued the following statement in response:
“Debo Adegbile is one of the most gifted and respected civil rights litigators in the country, and is supremely qualified to lead the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. The Senate’s filibuster, which blocked an up-or-down vote on Mr. Adegbile’s nomination, is deplorable. Protecting the civil rights of all Americans is a bedrock of our democracy. The Senate’s action thus harms the entire country, because it is depriving us of the service of an extraordinarily talented person whose skills, judgment, temperament and character make him uniquely suited to lead the Civil Rights Division.
“The sole excuse offered for blocking a vote on Mr. Adegbile’s nomination– the fact that he provided representation to an unpopular client on death row –is itself an affront to our country’s tradition that everyone is entitled to a fair trial that adheres to the rule of law. Many of the same senators who voted to block Mr. Adegbile’s nomination saw no difficulty in confirming Chief Justice John Roberts to a lifetime appointment on the U.S. Supreme Court, even though Mr. Roberts provided pro bono legal representation to an accused serial killer. This double standard is unacceptable.
“Mr. Adegbile’s life story epitomizes the best of America. Raised by a single mother and facing poverty as a child, he rose to the highest levels of his profession to argue before the U.S. Supreme Court, gaining the respect of the most respected members of the bar, including former Solicitor General Paul Clement, who served under President George W. Bush.
“Yesterday was a sad day for the Senate and for our country. We call on Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid to bring his nomination back to the floor and for the U.S. Senate to approve the nomination of Mr. Adegbile.”