Much of the rancor around why they opposed Debo Adegbile for heading the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has been about Mumia Abu-Jamal. But it seems from their line of questioning that there’s also an agenda to undermine the Civil Rights Divisions’ duties to enforce voting rights and protect Americans against discrimination. This probably explains why Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama sound really pissed with the Senate right now. “At a time when significant voting rights cases and other consequential matters are pending, it is more critical than ever to have a confirmed leader for the Civil Rights Division,” said Holder in a statement decrying the Senate vote. “He deserved to have his nomination considered wholly on the merits.” President Obama called it a “travesty” noting that Adegbile’s “unwavering dedication to protecting every American’s civil and Constitutional rights under the law—including voting rights —could not be more important right now.”
While the Abu-Jamal association clearly rankled many of the Republican and Democrat senators, their problems with voting rights protections were just as apparent. The January 8 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing exhibited plenty of that aggression—both passive and blatant—towards Adegbile’s voting rights record.
In that hearing, Sen. Charles Grassley asked Adegbile point blank if he would block voter ID laws as head of the Civil Rights Division if confirmed. Adegbile, who has argued against certain state voter ID laws that were proven discriminatory as an attorney for NAACP LDF, replied that it wasn’t the Justice Department’s role to “determine in the first instance how states run their voting systems.” That answer wasn’t good enough.
Full Article: Why Did the Senate Block Debo Adegbile? | Demos.