Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Rational Thought Prevails In The Senate...

by: Les Carpenter
Ration Nation USA
Purveyor of Truth

Today the Senate rejected President Obama's nomination of Debo Adegbile to head the DOJ's civil rights division. In a surprising 47-52 vote seven democratic senators joined republicans to deny Mr. Adegbile confirmation.

This defeat highlights the break with the Obama administration and Senate leadership by more moderate centrist democrats. In what is developing as a tough election cycle for democrats seeking reelection to the Senate this defeat only adds to the democratic parties potential difficulties in holding the Senate.


The Senate rejected President Obama’s nominee to lead the Justice Department’s civil rights division on Wednesday in a stunning 47-52 vote in which seven Democrats abandoned their leadership.

The vote was all the more remarkable for the five Democrats in tough reelection races this year who voted in vain to move Debo Adegbile’s nomination forward.

Their votes now become ammunition for Senate Republicans, who argued Adegbile was unfit to serve because of his legal work in support of Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted of killing Philadelphia

police officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981.

The vote was a stinging defeat for the White House that showed President Obama is politically out of step with some centrist Democrats heading into the midterm elections.

Obama labeled the vote a “travesty” based on “wildly unfair” character attacks.


Every Republican voted against the nomination, forcing Reid to secure the support of at least 50 members of his 55-person caucus. Vice President Biden presided over the vote and would have been available to break a tie, but his vote was not needed.

It was the first time a nomination has gone down since Democrats changed the Senate’s filibuster rules to require simple majority votes on many procedural motions.


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) insisted the vote was not a sign that Obama is losing support among Senate Democrats.

“The vast majority of Democrats voted to confirm him so I don’t think it says anything about the president,” said Reid, who switched his vote from “yes” to “no” in a procedural move that allows him to bring the nomination up again for a future vote.


Democratic leaders immediately faced questions about whether it was wise to schedule a vote without knowing for certain the nominee could attract enough support.

“These 2014 Democrats can’t be happy with their leadership over the Adegbile vote. They all walked the plank while others got to vote ‘no,’ ” said a Senate GOP leadership aide.

A senior Democratic leadership aide said the White House and Adegbile were informed that he might fall short of the 50 votes needed to advance his nomination but both wanted to roll the dice and proceed.


Abu-Jamal has long been a cause célèbre in leftist political circles who argue his case exposed racism in the criminal justice system — he even has a street named after him in Paris. But Republicans say he was an unrepentant cop killer and noted there was overwhelming evidence he shot and killed Faulkner at point-blank range.

GOP senators claimed Adegbile’s record of “left-wing advocacy” would further politicize the Justice Department.

The choice of Adegbile split civil rights and law enforcement groups and put Democrats in an awkward position of having to pick a side.

“It was a tough one because you had the NAACP on one side and police officers on the other so people voted the best they could given the circumstances,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who voted for Adegbile.

Complete article BELOW THE FOLD.

Sometimes reasoned moderate heads within the Democratic Party act to do the right thing. Hope springs eternal...

Via: Memeorandum


  1. So, RN, do you think that this means that the "The vast majority of [Senate] Democrats" (the non- "reasoned, moderate" ones) voted as they did out of support for Mumia's racism and act of murder, as represented by his disciple and apologist Adegbile?

    Or they voted this way because they are unimaginative rubber-stampers who put party ahead of principle and their legislative duties? (And yes, those exist on the other side as well, exposed by other votes)

  2. Good answer... Not extremists who actually like this indefensible maniac, but sheep instead.

  3. Nothing is ever as simple as the media make it seem:

    "In 2008, a federal appeals court unanimously held — with two Reagan appointees on the panel — that procedures used during a convicted cop killer named Mumia Abu-Jamal’s death penalty hearing violated the Constitution. Specifically, the panel of predominantly Republican judges concluded that the trial judge gave the jury a confusing form that could have been read to require a death sentence unless every single juror agreed to a life sentence. The NAACP LDF filed an amicus brief on Abu-Jamal’s behalf.
    At least one of the Democrats who opposed Adegbile, Sen. Casey, cited his work to overturn this unconstitutional death sentence as the reason for his opposition.
    As MSNBC’s Adam Serwer points out, the Senate was not always so critical of lawyers who help bad people fight potentially unconstitutional death sentences. Indeed, as an attorney in private practice,

    Chief Justice John Roberts “devoted 25 pro bono hours” to representing a mass murderer recently executed in Florida.

  4. On this one I applaud the seven democrats. There are enough left leaners in the DOJ, IMNHO.

    What is needed is balance. This vote helped to maintain that, again IMO.

  5. The American Bar Association, hardly a hotbed of Liberal thought, unequivocally endorsed Mr.Adegbile. This nominee was not voted down because he's "liberal." He was voted down because the 7 cowardly Democrats were afraid of being labeled "cop-killer lovers," (it's how Fox is handling the story) and losing their Senate seats in the next election. I don't think you've read all there is to know about Adegbile.

    "The National Law Journal: "Lawyers Who Have Held Prominent Government Positions" Across The Political Spectrum Have Had "Similar Clients In The Past." Highly-regarded members of the Supreme Court Bar have officially registered alarm at the smears against Adegbile regarding his criminal defense work, noting that conservative Chief Justice John Roberts also represented a death row inmate "convicted in the murder of eight people." From The National Law Journal on January 28, 2014."

    And it isn't over yet. Senator Reid is going to bring it up for another vote.

    1. The seven Democrats who voted him down were heroic: bucking party to go with principle to keep a racist out of a high office.

    2. You're right I haven't read all there is to read about Mr.Adegbile. If I get a chance perhaps I will..Busy from now through this weekend so it'll be on the back burner for a bit.

      BTW, I have not listened to FOX News and have no idea how they are playing it. By FOX News are you talking Shepard Smith, Bret Baier, Harris Faulkner, or Hannity, Ingram & O'Rielly?

    3. dmarks, I have neither read or herad anythng that would lead me to believe Adegbile is a racist. If you have information from a reputable source please provide info or link. Thanks.

  6. We recall that defending murderers is a lawyerly thing. However, this nomination should never have come up, IMO.
    A cop-killer by any other name should not be a cause celebre. Such are the intangible vagaries
    of politics though, in my home state, the GOP is brushing the police establishment aside to open colleges and universities to concealed weapons.

    1. BB-Idaho, I brought that piece of history up in my blogpost on this subject. John Adams brought down the wrath of the colonial patriots for defending the British in the Boston Massacre. But he was right. It takes a neutral mind to look at facts not passions in cases like this. The cop-killer, IMO, was not a cause celebre, but actions taken in that case were illegal. Does the Constitution stand for anything? The judges, liberal AND conservative, agreed egregious mistakes were made in that case. Does anyone care?

    2. "He's written books and granted interviews from his prison cell, and his fight to be released has earned the support of countless celebrities, civil rights activists, and groups that focus on racial disparities in the justice system. A suburb of Paris even named a street after him." The Washington Post - I don't know, Shaw, he kind of sounds like a cause celebre to me, this fellow who shot an already seriously wounded Officer Faulkner right between the eyeballs.

    3. In this case, the loud indignation over the nominee appears to be simply political, and not based on Adegbile's qualifications. Where were the outcries and indignation from law enforcement officials when Chief Justice Roberts, who defended a mass murderer (8 dead), was nominated to the SCOTUS? Has anyone been able to answer why Roberts got a pass on that, and Adegbile does not?

      "Republicans focused on the NAACP LDF’s representation of Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted of killing Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981, in order to derail Adegbile’s nomination.

      Although Adegbile was a child when Abu-Jamal was convicted, the NAACP LDF later represented him during his appeals process – a fact Republicans used to argue Adegbile was unfit to run the division. Adegbile had worked on a legal brief that argued that the jury instructions during Abu-Jamal’s sentencing were improper – a decision a federal court later agreed with."

      Those are facts, and facts are stubborn things.

      I understand very well the emotionalism involved when a cop is killed. But when we place a higher value on one victim over EIGHT victims, it devalues all victims.

  7. And we need to remember that such "obstruction" is the way it is supposed to work. Checks and balances built into the system on purpose, and for very good reason. A President (regardless of party) who goes around such with recess appointments or executive orders is burning the Constitution with illegal actions. I hope nothing like that happens as a result of this proper vote.

    1. Checks and balances are not the same as obstruction dmarks.

      Recess appointments and executive orders are something prior administrations both republican and democratic presidents have used. Obama is not the most prolific user of these.

      I hear Reid (through Shaw) is going to keep knawing on this bone until he reaches the marrow and gets a thumbs up un the apointment. Woof, Woof, .

  8. Hopefully Reid can get the required votes and ram this appointment through.

  9. It's sad that we live in a country where the people see no value in defending people convicted under controversial circumstances, where our politicians have no choice but to pander to our base instincts, and where the qualification to do a job disqualifies a person from getting it. I guess if Obama did what his predecessor did, appointing persons with antithetical views to the jobs we need done, then the base instinct crowd would be happy. Then we could go back to the good ol' days, with an anti-labor person handling labor issues, and anti-environment person handling environmental issues, an anti-education person handling education issues, and anti-regulation persons to watch over international and interstate trade.



  10. "It's sad that we live in a country where the people see no value in defending people convicted under controversial circumstances..."

    It's sadder still, when people from a political party who routinely accuse President Obama of "shredding" the Constitution have no idea what is actually IN that document.

    Here's more clarification on Adegbile's role in carrying out what is set down in our Constitution.

    "The primary ostensible basis for the rejection of the eminently qualified Adegbile was his small role in the legal defense of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Abu-Jamal was convicted for the 1981 murder of a Philadelphia police officer, and as Michael McGough says it's fair to say that Abu-Jamal has been "the beneficiary of uncritical adulation and a form of 'radical chic'" from some activists and celebrities both home and abroad. Certainly, Abu-Jamal is not my idea of a hero, but this is all irrelevant to Adegbile. He wasn't spending his time leading "Free Mumia" rallies or defending the murder of police officers. He simply part of the team at the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund (LDF) that participated in an appeal of Abu-Jamal's death sentence. The LDF has been at the forefront of constitutional challenges to the death penalty for decades; there was nothing remotely unusual or improper about Adegbile's actions. And nor was this a frivolous constitutional challenge—a unanimous Third Circuit panel including two Republican appointees found Abu-Jamal's death sentence unconstitutional."

    Anyone who labels Adegbile a "cop-killer sympathizer" is participating in rank and hypocritical character assassination. He is not more a cop-killer lover than Chief Justice Roberts was a "mass-murderer lover" when Roberts did his job.

    Some day, we'll discover why Roberts got a pass on his participation in defending a killer and why Adegbile does not.

  11. National Fraternal Order of Police - "As word of this nomination spreads through the law enforcement community, reactions range from anger to incredulity. Under this nominee's leadership, the Legal Defense Fund (LDF) of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People volunteered their services to represent Wesley Cook, better known to the world as Mumia Abu-Jamal --- our country's most notorious cop-killer. There is no disputing that Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner was murdered by this thug. His just sentence - death - was undone by your nominee and others like him who turned the justice system on its head with unfounded and unproven allegations of racism. 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 on 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. This nomination can be interpreted in only one way; it is a thumb in the eye of our nation's law enforcement. It demonstrates a total lack of regard or empathy for those who strive to keep you and everyone else in our nation safe in your home and neighborhoods -- sometimes giving their lives in the effort. Standing up and fighting against racism wherever and whenever you find it is a brave and admirable endeavor; sometimes standing up against racism entails opposing and exposing cynical opportunism disguised in the name of justice. We will make every effort to point this out in our opposition to this nomination and will do everything we can to defeat it in the Senate. It is our hope, that in the future, you and your Administration will consider candidates with records of fairness and respect to all Americans when selecting nominees for leadership positions at the Justice Department or anywhere else in your administration." Well said.

  12. "...a unanimous Third Circuit panel including two Republican appointees found Abu-Jamal's death sentence unconstitutional."

    Neither the NFOP nor you can dispute the fact that a panel of justices (Republican and Democratic appointees) unanimously found that the death sentence was unConstitutional. This was an emotional issue for the police, but as the host of this blog often states, facts over passions should prevail.

    The Fraternal Order of Police should be angry with the prosecutorial missteps, not the lawyers who were steadfast to our Constitution. Or do you advocate two sets of laws? One for henious killers and one for not so henious killers. Because that's what the issue is here. Not the emotional feelings of a group of people.

  13. The problem wasn't that he defended the guy. It was the fact that he joined a radical leftwing propaganda campaign and praised Mumia to the heavens (organizing and attending rallies for this lowlife murderer whose guilt has never been seriously questioned). The dude was and is a political partisan, not a person who can objectively enforce the law and enforce civil rights laws on a colorblind basis.......And how frigging embarrassing is this? They institute the nuclear option and they still can't get this miscreant confirmed.

  14. I must agree with Shaw. Also, disagree with another commenter. The one who articulated a very different point of view. Or quoted one and then agreed with it.

  15. And this whole Mumia thing was a circus right from the get; the fact that he "defended" himself, denigrated the victim, denigrated the victim's wife, etc.. If the NAACP Legal Defense Fund had really wanted to do something positive (as opposed to publicity grovelling), they would have defended one of those guys that Barry Scheck/The Innocence Project defends and not some former asshat from MOVE.


As this site encourages free speech and expression any and all honest political commentary is acceptable. Comments with cursing or vulgar language will not be posted.

Effective 3/4/18 Anonymous commenting has been disabled and this site has reverted to comment moderation. This unfortunate action is necessary due to the volume of Anonymous comments that are either off topic or irrelevant to the post subject.

While we appreciate and encourage all political viewpoints we feel no obligation to post comments that fail to rise to the standards of decency and decorum we have set for Rational Nation USA.

Thank you for your understanding... The management.