Civil and Human Rights Advocates Support Debo Adegbile’s Nomination to Head Civil Rights Division

Today is the confirmation hearing for Debo Adegbile, who has been nominated to be Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Justice.

In that role, he would head DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, which was created in 1957 to be the primary agency enforcing federal laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, sex, disability, religion, and national origin, such as the Voting Rights Act, the Fair Housing Act, and the Americans With Disabilities Act.

“Debo Adegbile is one of the pre-eminent civil rights litigators of his generation and a bipartisan consensus builder,” said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, in a statement.

Adegbile has worked as a litigator for a large corporate law firm, where he handled a variety of cases for corporate, governmental, individual, and nonprofit clients; has argued before the U.S. Supreme Court twice; and has served for a decade in various leadership positions at the nation’s first civil rights law firm, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., where he oversaw cases in both the trial and appellate courts, while managing the legal staff. He currently serves as senior counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Seventy-five organizations joined The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights in a letter of support for Adegbile’s nomination. The letter states: “Mr. Adegbile would lead the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division with professionalism and a deep commitment to its important and historic mission of ensuring that our nation lives up to its promise of equality and justice for all. We urge the Senate to swiftly vote to confirm this extraordinary nominee.” 

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a letter of support to Senators Patrick Leahy and Chuck Grassley, “I am confident that Debo will provide the leadership necessary to defend the civil rights of Americans living in my state and across the nation. Born in New York, Mr. Adegbile’s life embodies the American Dream. He has shown incredible perseverance in overcoming adversity, and ultimately embarked on a career in public service that has been characterized by distinction. His professional record demonstrates that he has the expertise necessary to effectively and successfully lead the Civil Rights Division.”