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.

 


 

Protecting the Right to Vote: A Moral Imperative

Protecting the Right to Vote: A Moral Imperative

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:57pm

In response to voter suppression laws passed across the country, Attorney General Eric Holder said he is committed to protecting all Americans’ right to vote.

Keeping Ohio’s Souls at the Polls: Sen. Durbin Holds Field Hearing on Ohio Voting Law

Keeping Ohio’s Souls at the Polls: Sen. Durbin Holds Field Hearing on Ohio Voting Law

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Mike Brickner, ACLU of Ohio at 11:30am

On Monday, May 7, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights will hold a field hearing in Cleveland, Ohio to examine the impact of Ohio’s new voting law, HB 194.

Counting On Us: Release of New Civil Rights Data Is the First Step in Helping Our Kids

Counting On Us: Release of New Civil Rights Data Is the First Step in Helping Our Kids

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:21pm

Every day, students in public schools across the country are facing harsh disciplinary measures that may have dire consequences for the rest of their lives.

That was confirmed this week when the Department of Education released Part Two…

So You Think You Can Vote?

So You Think You Can Vote?

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Georgeanne M. Usova, Washington Legislative Office at 10:35am

This Election Day, we are faced with a dramatic rollback of the right to vote.

A Step Towards Fair Pay With a Stroke of a Pen

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 6:49pm

(Originally posted on DailyKos.)

Just hours ago, I shared an incredible moment with Lilly Ledbetter — who stood in the White House and watched President Obama sign a piece of legislation bearing her name. One can only imagine what that…

Shelby, ITCA, and Congress' Role in Protecting Voting Rights

Shelby, ITCA, and Congress' Role in Protecting Voting Rights

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:22pm

Following a wave of voter suppression laws over the last few years, Texas passed a restrictive voter identification law, which unfairly burdened communities of color all across the state. The new law was rejected as discriminatory under the federal…

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…

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.

Florida Sets the Stage: U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee Holds Field Hearing on State's Regressive Voting Laws

Florida Sets the Stage: U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee Holds Field Hearing on State's Regressive Voting Laws

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Howard L. Simon, ACLU of Florida at 2:24pm

With Florida’s primary just days away, all eyes are on the Sunshine State. And in an effort to shine a light on the state’s new regressive voting laws, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights,…

Protections for Home Care Workers: Ending An Unjust Legacy

By Ariela Migdal, ACLU Women's Rights Project & Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:31pm

"Year in and year out, Evelyn Coke left her Queens house early to go to the homes of elderly, sick, often dying people. She bathed them, cooked for them, helped them dress and monitored their medications. She sometimes worked three consecutive…

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