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.

 


 

ACLU Testifies at Voter Suppression Forum on the Hill

ACLU Testifies at Voter Suppression Forum on the Hill

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Georgeanne M. Usova, Washington Legislative Office at 1:40pm
Members of the U.S. House of Representatives held a forum on Monday to shine a light on recent regressive voting laws throughout the country.
Fundamental Injustice: Voter Suppression Threatens Democracy

Fundamental Injustice: Voter Suppression Threatens Democracy

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Georgeanne M. Usova, Washington Legislative Office at 2:28pm

Sen. Dick Durbin calls the recent rash of state voter suppression efforts, "a threat to our democracy." Yesterday he held a hearing on this disturbing trend at which the ACLU submitted a statement for the record.

In recent months,…

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…

A Crisis Averted?

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:12pm

Today, April 12, 2011, is Equal Pay Day – the day into 2011 that a woman has to work, on average, to make the same as a man did in just 2010 alone. As I write on this year’s Equal Pay Day, I cannot help but reflect on the fact that only…

The Whole Constitution — Without Holes

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Joanne Lin, Washington Legislative Office at 1:56pm

Clashing perceptions of our Constitution last week led to dissonant messages about the importance of defending our founding charter. The new 112th Congress kicked off the session with a reading of the document in the House of Representatives,…

Waiting for Equality

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:07pm

In the winter of 1916–1917, suffragists took their ongoing battle to our nation’s capital, pressing the newly re-elected President Woodrow Wilson to grant women the most fundamental of all American rights — the right to vote. …

18 More Cents...in 50 Years

18 More Cents...in 50 Years

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:58am

Over the last five decades, women have broken many barriers in education, business, and government. We need look no further than Congress to see the progress women have made: in 1963, Congress had only 14 women. In contrast, the new 113th Congress…

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…

ACLU to Speak at Briefing on Workplace Discrimination Against LGBT Employees

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:54pm

On Thursday, the ACLU, as well as partner organizations, will speak at a congressional briefing hosted by Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) on the subject of sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in the workplace and the steps that can…

A Sad Day for Equal Pay, But Not the End

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:37pm

In a disappointing stand against women's equality, on Wednesday the Senate voted 58-41 against cloture for the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 3772), stopping the bill from moving forward and effectively denying women the necessary legal tools to fight…

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