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.

 


 

New White House Report Reaffirms Need for Paycheck Fairness Act

New White House Report Reaffirms Need for Paycheck Fairness Act

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Georgeanne M. Usova, Washington Legislative Office at 5:19pm
Last week, the White House Council on Women and Girls released a landmark report on the state of women in the U.S. that has been called the most comprehensive report of its kind in nearly five decades. Women in America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well Being compiles data from a variety of sources to show how women's lives are changing across the nation. The White House gathered statistics on a wide variety of topics, including health, education, employment and more.

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,…

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…

Time's Running Out to Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act -- Contact Your Senator Today!

Time's Running Out to Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act -- Contact Your Senator Today!

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:40pm

Call, email and tweet your senator today. As the clock ticks down in the 111th Congress, there is little time left to finish critical pieces of legislation.

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. …

An Arcane, Destructive — and Still Legal — Practice

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:10pm

(Originally posted on Huffington Post.)

On June 29, 2010, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) introduced the "Ending Corporal Punishment in Schools Act," H.R. 5628. This bill would ban the use of corporal punishment in public schools…

Make Equal Pay Day Obsolete

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

Today, Equal Pay Day, marks how far women, on average, have to work into 2010 to be paid the same as men were paid in 2009. In other words, women have to work almost 16 months — nearly four months longer than men do — to make the same amount of…

An Arcane And Destructive Practice

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:04pm

Yesterday, the House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Healthy Families and Communities conducted a hearing seeking to address the problems stemming from corporal punishment in public schools — the first Congressional hearing on this important…

A Milestone with Miles to Go

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:24pm

(Originally posted on Huffington Post.)

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the first bill signed into law by President Obama. This critical law fixed a 2007 Supreme Court decision that…

Teach (and Treat) Our Children Well

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:19pm

(Originally posted on Huffington Post.)

As a society, we adhere to the basic premise that, in the proper setting, children will learn what they are taught. And it follows that in learning to become positive and involved adults, children need…

Statistics image