WASHINGTON, D.C.--Today numerous Democrats in the U.S. Senate joined Republicans in an effort to block President Obama's nomination for the head of the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice. The nominee, Debo Adegbile, was rejected by a vote of 47-52 after Texas Senator Ted Cruz vehemently spoke out in opposition to Adegbile's nomination. Adegbile previously held a leadership position at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF). During his time with the black activist group, Adegbile volunteered to defend Mumia Abu-Jamal, the criminal who murdered Philadelphia cop Daniel Faulkner in 1981. Thanks to Adegbile and his colleagues, Abu-Jamal ultimately avoided the death penalty.
Abegbile needed 51 votes to officially become the head of the powerful DOJ division. He is now the first of President Obama’s nominees to be rejected since Senate Democrats changed filibuster rules in 2013.