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Justice Department civil rights chief headed to similar HHS post

By Joseph Conn
Posted: July 2, 2014 - 12:30 pm ET

Jocelyn Samuels will again head a federal civil rights division—just for a different Cabinet department—thanks to her recent appointment by HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell to head the Office for Civil Rights at HHS.

Samuels currently serves as acting assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice.

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In her new position, she will replace outgoing HHS civil rights chief Leon Rodriquez, who was confirmed by the Senate June 24 as director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security.

Burwell made the announcement in an email to her staff last week.

Samuels, a graduate of Columbia Law School with a bachelor's degree from Middlebury College, previously served as senior counselor to the assistant attorney general heading the civil rights division at the DOJ. Before that, she was vice president for education and employment at the National Women's Law Center in Washington, D.C.; labor counsel to Sen. Edward Kennedy, and a senior policy attorney at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Rodriguez “is in the process of planning his departure,” said OCR spokeswoman Rachel Seeger. Samuels will take on her duties at the Office of Civil Rights “in the near future,” she said.

Follow Joseph Conn on Twitter: @MHJConn

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