From LA Times:
Democrats help block Obama's civil rights nominee Debo Adegbile
WASHINGTON—In a surprising defeat for President Obama, the Democratic-controlled Senate on Wednesday blocked his controversial nominee to head the Justice Department’s civil rights division.
In a statement, President Obama called the 47-52 vote "a travesty based on wildly unfair character attacks against a good and qualified public servant."
Supporters of Debo Adegbile, the son of a Nigerian father and an Irish mother, say his nomination had been fraught with race issues from the start. Opposition focused on his past legal representation of Mumia Abu-Jamal, a convicted cop killer in Philadelphia who became a cause celebre in leftist circles.