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Debo Adegbile Nomination

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 25, 2014

CONTACT
Adela de la Torre, delatorre@nilc.org, 213-400-7822

National Immigration Law Center Reacts to Senate’s Failure to Confirm Debo Adegbile for Department of Justice Post

WASHINGTON — Recently, the Senate failed to confirm Debo Adegbile to head the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Civil Rights. Adegbile, who has served as director of litigation at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, is an accomplished and respected attorney who has defended the rights of many of the most marginalized members of society. More than 86 organizations, including the National Immigration Law Center, supported Adegbile’s nomination. Below is a statement from Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center:

“Debo Adegbile is uniquely qualified for this important post in the Department of Justice, and we are shocked and deeply saddened by the Senate’s failure to confirm this candidate to lead the department’s Office of Civil Rights. The Senate’s rejection of Adegbile, whose legal skills have earned him bipartisan praise, sent a disturbing message to the civil rights and legal community that those who serve the most marginalized segments of our society should do so at their own risk.

“One of the bedrocks of our Constitution is the right to counsel. All people — no matter their resources or the accusations levied against them — should have a fair day in court, which means they should have adequate legal representation. The Senate, which is composed of many lawyers, seems to have forgotten this crucial aspect of every attorney’s ethical duty. This forgetfulness seems selective. As Senator Harkin rightly pointed out, the majority of the Senate saw no problem with another appointee’s defense of those accused of murder. The only difference is that one appointee — John Roberts — is white, while Mr. Adegbile is not.

“We urge the Senate to reconsider the nomination of this exceptionally qualified candidate to lead the Department of Justice’s Office of Civil Rights. Senator Reid and his colleagues have the opportunity — and the obligation — to right this grievous error, and they should do so as soon as possible.”

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