LOS ANGELES, CA – Today, in a 47-52 vote, the U.S. Senate refused to end a filibuster, and thus failed to confirm respected civil rights attorney, Debo Adegbile, as Assistant Attorney General to lead the civil rights division of the U.S Department of Justice. MALDEF President and General Counsel, Thomas A. Saenz, issued the following statement in reaction:

“The United States Senate’s failure to end debate and to vote on the President’s nomination of Debo Adegbile to serve as Assistant Attorney General and to lead the all-important Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice is a deplorable and cynical demonstration of the damage done by smear tactics. Lawyers who represent unpopular causes, and who do so consistent with our nation’s abiding constitutional values, should be celebrated for their patriotism and devotion to principle. They are heroic servants of the public who stand up against mob rule. Instead, one of the best and most skilled of these advocates today was blocked in his commitment to continue in public service by leading one of our nation’s most important bulwarks against tyranny, the Civil Rights Division. Those Senators who refused to even permit a vote today abdicated their responsibility to serve all Americans, and we can only hope that today’s action is fleeting, and not an indication of future senatorial pusillanimity.”