Debo Adegbile Nomination Withdrawn, Returns to Private Practice (Updated)

Adegbile. (Courtesy WilmerHale)
Adegbile. (Courtesy WilmerHale)
Posted September 15, 2014 at 10:33am

Updated 12:14 p.m. | Having seen his Senate confirmation blocked by members of President Barack Obama’s own party, Debo P. Adegbile has withdrawn from consideration to be an assistant attorney general.  

“Debo Adegbile has withdrawn himself from consideration for a position at the Department of Justice, and we are actively working toward announcing a new nominee for the post,” a White House spokesperson told CQ Roll Call.  

Formal word of the withdrawal comes after the law firm WilmerHale announced Adegbile’s move back to private practice Monday morning. Adegbile has joined as a partner.  

“Once I decided to return to private practice, WilmerHale was a natural fit,” Adegbile said in a statement released by the law firm. “I was drawn to the firm’s exceptional attorneys, superb reputation and strong culture of public service. WilmerHale leverages that culture for the benefit of its clients in cutting edge cases that lie at the intersection of business, government regulation and public policy. I look forward to collaborating with my colleagues to contribute to WilmerHale’s continued success.”  

Obama nominated Adegbile to head up the civil rights division at the Department of Justice, but the nomination was stymied , even after Democrats effectively changed the Senate’s rules to prevent a minority from stopping nominations through filibusters.  

Senators voted against Adegbile 47-52 back in March. A total of eight Democrats crossed over to vote no, including Majority Leader Harry Reid. The Nevada Democrat’s vote was for procedural reasons to set up consideration later.  

Adegbile faced opposition over his past involvement in the representation of Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted in the murder of a Philadelphia police officer. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, called the blockade of Adegbile the “lowest point” of his 30-year career .  

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, for whom Adegbile has most recently worked as senior counsel to the committee, praised him in a statement.  

“Debo Adegbile is an exceptional attorney who will bring a wealth of experience and good judgment to private practice. I appreciate the wise counsel he provided to me and my staff on a wide variety of complex legal issues. I wish him continued success,” the Vermont Democrat said.  

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.