Blog of Rights

Deborah J.
Vagins

Deborah Vagins is senior legislative counsel at the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. She leads the Washington Legislative Office’s civil rights advocacy efforts and develops pro-active strategies on pending federal legislation and executive branch actions concerning racial justice, education, employment discrimination, voting rights, and disability rights. Vagins has been instrumental in advocating for major civil rights legislation, including the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 and the 2006 Voting Rights Act reauthorization, among others..

 

Before joining the ACLU in 2005, Vagins served as the acting deputy general counsel and senior attorney-advisor to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Prior to that, Vagins was an associate at Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll, where she litigated high-profile nationwide civil rights class actions. She represented more than 1.5 million women from Wal-Mart in the largest Title VII employment discrimination class action in history. She was also an associate at Sidley & Austin in the civil, criminal and constitutional litigation practice group and founded the firm’s Committee for the Recruitment and Retention of Women. Earlier Vagins worked at EMILY’s List and clerked at the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. Vagins graduated magna cum laude from the Washington College of Law at American University. She received her B.A. with distinction from Swarthmore College.

 


 

We Can't Wait For Fair Pay

We Can't Wait For Fair Pay

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:02am

Today is Equal Pay Day, the day into 2012 that a woman must work, on average, to make she same amount a man did in 2011 alone.

The Democracy Restoration Act: Creating A Broader and More Just Base of Voter Participation

The Democracy Restoration Act: Creating A Broader and More Just Base of Voter Participation

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:59pm

Jessica Chiappone was convicted of a nonviolent drug offense. Since serving her prison sentence, she has turned her life around, completed law school and hopes to become a public defender. But because of her felony conviction, Jessica is unable to vote, hold public office or sit on a jury – all requirements for admission to the Florida Bar.

Making School a Safe Place for All Students

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:35am

In 19 states across the country, corporal punishment in schools is still legal. Sadly, in many states, children are better protected against physical discipline in detention facilities than they are in their own classrooms. That fact is a startling…

Turning a Blind Eye: The Human Rights Crisis in Puerto Rico

Turning a Blind Eye: The Human Rights Crisis in Puerto Rico

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:26pm

Today, there are American citizens who are being assaulted by police during peaceful protests, but you likely have heard very little about it. The Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD), the second largest police department in the country, is out…

Who's the Boss? Not Who You Think.

Who's the Boss? Not Who You Think.

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:58pm

Meet Tony and Angela.  Angela is a floor worker at a manufacturing plant and Tony is her shift supervisor. Tony’s boss, who works offsite, decides whom to hire or fire at this particular plant.  But Tony makes Angela’s schedule, gives…

Lilly Ledbetter: Celebrating a Champion Still Fighting for Us

Lilly Ledbetter: Celebrating a Champion Still Fighting for Us

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:07am

Five years ago today, I was honored to stand with Lilly Ledbetter at the White House as President Obama made the legislation bearing her name his first major bill signed into law.

As I said back in 2009:

With…

The Supreme Court Limits Our Employment Rights...Again

The Supreme Court Limits Our Employment Rights...Again

By Christina Black, Women's Rights Project, ACLU & Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:04pm

In a high-profile few weeks of wins and losses at the Supreme Court, there are two end-of-term opinions that will make it more difficult for workers to sue employers who discriminate against them, which may have gotten a bit lost in the shuffle. One…

Federal Reforms Needed to Increase Voter Access

Federal Reforms Needed to Increase Voter Access

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Shawn Jain, Media Strategist, ACLU at 4:18pm

Tomorrow, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold an important hearing entitled, The State of the Right to Vote After the 2012 Election. The timing is ripe for the committee to consider the state of our most fundamental right as citizens.  Just…

Groundbreaking Senate Hearing Shines a Light on the School-to-Prison Pipeline

Groundbreaking Senate Hearing Shines a Light on the School-to-Prison Pipeline

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Kimberly Humphrey, Washington Legislative Office at 10:23am

Tomorrow, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights will hold a landmark hearing entitled, Ending the School-to-Prison Pipeline. It is the first time a congressional panel will look at this disturbing…

Who Really Won the Election?  Democracy Did.

Who Really Won the Election? Democracy Did.

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:00pm

On Tuesday, despite the massive hurdles put in front of voters since 2010 – citizens nonetheless, fought through voter suppression tactics, misinformation, long lines, then longer lies, and the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy to have their voices…

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