03.03.2014 1

Adegbile for DOJ post tough vote for Senate Democrats

Officer_FaulknerBy Robert Romano

The Senate will vote Tuesday on whether or not to confirm Debo Adegbile as the next Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.

Adegbile is perhaps best known for acting as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund’s litigation director as it defended one of the most notorious cop-killers in our nation’s history, former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal, to keep him off of death row for the murder of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981.

The NAACP’s appeals succeeded, and the death sentence was overturned, and Abu-Jamal still sits in prison to this day.

That alone makes this a tough vote for Senate Democrats, who will be defending no less than 21 seats in November. Even Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) who does not face reelection again until 2018 has said he intends to vote no.

Many, including Faulkner’s widow, Maureen Faulkner, and the Fraternal Order of Police are urging Senate rejection in a vote certain to have political consequences no matter which way members vote.

In her letter to the Senate, Faulkner noted “attorneys working under Mr. Adgebile’s supervision have stood before public rallies held in support of my husband’s killer and openly professed that it was ‘an extreme honor’ to represent the man who put a hollow based bullet into my husband’s brain as he lay on the ground, wounded, unarmed and defenseless.”

She added, “while Mr. Adegbile and those who support his nomination will undoubtedly argue that he did not personally make such statements, he did nothing to counter or stop them.”

Indeed, what is extremely honorable about getting a convicted cop-killer off of death row? Further, while it was one thing for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund to participate in Abu-Jamal’s defense, it is quite another to participate in promoting his perverse pop cultural status for apparent political or organizational gain. Why didn’t Adegbile put a stop the grandstanding around the Abu-Jamal appeals?

In its letter to the Senate the Fraternal Order of Police blasted the representation NAACP Legal Defense provided, saying it smeared the name of Faulkner, “We are aware of the tried and true shield behind which activists of Adegbile’s ilk are wont to hide – that everyone is entitled to a defense; but surely you would agree that a defense should not be based upon falsely disparaging and savaging the good name and reputation of a lifeless police officer.  Certainly any legal scholar can see the injustice and absence of ethics in this cynical race-baiting approach to our legal system.”

Similar concerns were echoed in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee by Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams, “in our system even a radical cop-killer is entitled to legal representation. That does not mean, however, that those lawyers who elect to arm him in his efforts are suitable to lead this nation’s highest law enforcement offices. To select such a lawyer, among all those qualified for the position, speaks volumes to police officers and their families.”

But the case against Adegbile is not merely limited to his role in the Abu-Jamal case, as noted by Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens. There is also the question of what he will do once on the job at the Civil Rights Division.

“Adegbile has also supported Equal Employment Opportunity Commission efforts to prevent the usage of criminal background checks to screen potential new hires,” Mehrens stated in January.

“As the head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Office, Adegbile would be in a position to bring legal action against employers who engaged in the commonsense practice of ensuring that convicted thieves weren’t hired to oversee inventory or rapists weren’t serving as parking attendants,” he explained.

Mehrens concluded, “The nomination of Adegbile is an affront to the concept of moving toward a non-racial society, and he should be rejected on a bi-partisan basis by the United States Senate.”

And if Senate Democrats join with Sen. Casey and Senate Republicans, he just might be.

Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government.

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