The Senate disregarded civil rights by blocking an up-down vote on Debo Adegbile’s nomination to head the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division. Please tell your Senators to stand for civil rights by supporting a vote on Debo Adegbile.
Unfortunately, a public smear campaign purposefully mischaracterized Mr. Adegbile’s involvement in a death penalty case. While working for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Mr. Adegbile played a role in protecting the constitutional rights of a person who was convicted of killing a police officer. Adegbile was just doing his duty as a lawyer. Lawyers have an ethical duty to uphold the law and defend the legal rights of their clients. It has been widely noted that John Roberts once defended a mass murderer in Florida who killed eight people, and now he is Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Thus, it is highly troubling that a lawyer’s ethical duty is recognized in the case of a white attorney, but overlooked or even consciously dismissed in the case of an African American civil rights attorney.
This appalling public smear campaign also represents a troubling effort to discredit civil rights law and public interest lawyers who have committed their lives to protecting the rights of people of color and immigrants. If an African American lawyer is the target of a public smear campaign simply because he worked for an organization that defended someone’s due process right to a fair trial, what will keep Arab-American lawyers and organizations such as ADC from also being defamed and called “terrorists” for simply protecting the constitutional rights of Arab Americans and ensuring that they are not unfairly subjected to intrusive government surveillance and racial profiling?
We must take action to ensure that immigrants and people of color are not subjected to discriminatory standards. Please tell your Senators to stand for civil rights and racial equality by supporting a vote on Debo Adegbile.