March 3, 2014


Both Senators Casey and Toomey Rightly Oppose This Nominee, Other Senators Don’t Get It


Senator Casey recently joined the chorus of Pennsylvanians calling for a rejection of Debo Adegbile as assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.   He now serves as senior counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee and, if confirmed, will take over the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division.  Adegbile was voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 7.

On February 24th Senator Pat Toomey and Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams wrote a Wall Street Journal editorial.  In it they say, in part:  “Let there be no mistake. Our concern is not based on the fact that Mr. Adegbile acted as an attorney for a criminal defendant. The right to counsel is a fundamental part of America’s criminal justice system, and no lawyer should be faulted for the crimes of his clients.

But it is one thing to provide legal representation and quite another to seize on a case and turn it into a political platform from which to launch an extreme attack on the justice system. When a lawyer chooses that course, it is appropriate to ask whether he should be singled out for a high-level national position in, of all things, law enforcement.

To understand Mr. Adegbile’s involvement, you must first consider the nature of the case. In December 1981, Abu-Jamal shot and killed Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. Immediately following the incident, Abu-Jamal confessed and stated before three witnesses that he hoped the officer died.

The murder was not a random street crime. Abu-Jamal was an ardent supporter of the “MOVE” organization—a racist, anarchist group founded in Philadelphia in 1972. The group’s radical positions included encouraging violence against police.

Mr. Adegbile chose in 2009 to enter the circus created by Abu-Jamal and inject his organization into the case. Under Mr. Adegbile’s leadership and through rallies, protests and a media campaign, the Legal Defense Fund actively fanned the racial firestorm. In a news release issued when it took over as Abu-Jamal’s counsel, the Legal Defense Fund proclaimed that Abu-Jamal was “a symbol of the racial injustices of the death penalty.”

At a 2011 rally for Abu-Jamal, Mr. Adegbile’s co-counsel on the case stated that “there is no question in the mind of anyone at the Legal Defense Fund” that [Abu-Jamal’s conviction] “has everything to do with race and that is why the Legal Defense Fund is in the case.”

In 2012, even after Abu-Jamal’s appeals had been exhausted, and after the Philadelphia district attorney’s office had put the controversial case to rest by not seeking a new death sentence (which a court had voided in 2008 on the ground of faulty jury instructions), Abu-Jamal’s website reported that the Legal Defense Fund would remain active in the cause by investigating new ways to challenge his conviction.”

This is the man President Obama wants to be as an assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division!

Action Steps

Because of the winter storm hitting DC today, the final Senate vote on this nominee has been postponed until mid-day Tuesday.  (UPDATE:  This vote has been postponed again until 11:45 a.m. Wednesday.)Remember Senator Harry Reid’s nuclear option in November now only requires a simple majority vote, rather than a 60-vote threshold,  to end debate on a nominee and bring the nomination forward for a vote of the full Senate.

These Senators’ need to be targeted — please call AND email.  Message is simple:  I’m a Pennsylvanian concerned about the nomination of the continued defender of a convicted Philadelphia cop-killer and I’m asking the Senator to oppose the nomination of Debo Adegbile (DAY’-boh ah-DEG’-beh-lay) as assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

Tammy Baldwin  (Wisconsin) — (608) 264-5338 or (202) 224-5653 AND email here. 

Kay Hagan (North Carolina) — (828) 257-6510 or (202) 224-6342  AND email here.

Manchin (West Virginia) — (304) 342-5855 or (202) 224-3954 AND email here.

Jeanne Shaheen (New Hampshire) — (603) 750-3004 or (202) 224-2841 AND email here.

Jon Tester (Montana) — (406) 449-5401 or (202) 224-2644 AND email  here. 

Mark Udall (Colorado) — (970) 356-5586 or (202) 224-5941 AND email here.

John Walsh (Montana) —  (202)224-2651 (Contact info is limited as he is the former Montana Lieutenant Governor newly appointed to replace former Senator Max Baucus who is our new ambassador to China.)

Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts) —  (617) 565-3170 or (202) 224-4543 AND email here. 

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