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August 29, 2014

Democrats Defect, Sink Obama’s Civil Rights Pick (Updated) (Video)

Updated: 2:17 p.m. | Seven Senate Democrats joined Republicans to block President Barack Obama’s pick of Debo P. Adegbile to lead the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division amid a controversy over his legal defense of convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Adegbile’s nomination needed a simple majority to cut off debate but the chamber voted 47-52 against him, with Obama ripping the vote as a “travesty.”

Democrats Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Chris Coons of Delaware, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and John Walsh of Montana all voted no. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., also voted no in order to preserve his right to reconsider the vote. If Adegbile had mustered just two more votes plus Reid, Vice President Joseph Biden was on hand to cast a possible tie-breaking vote.

It’s the first presidential pick to be blocked since Democrats changed the Senate’s rules via the “nuclear option” to block filibusters of nominees.

President Barack Obama called the vote “a travesty based on wildly unfair character attacks against a good and qualified public servant.”

Obama said Adegbile had impeccable credentials and “unwavering dedication to protecting every American’s civil and Constitutional rights under the law.”

“Mr. Adegbile’s personal story – rising from adversity to become someone who President Bush’s Solicitor General referred to as one of the nation’s most capable litigators – is a story that proves what America has been and can be for people who work hard and play by the rules.  As a lawyer, Mr. Adgebile has played by the rules.  And now, Washington politics have used the rules against him.”

Powerful law enforcement groups and Republicans opposed the nomination, with the Abu-Jamal case at the heart of the controversy.

Obama mentioned the issue but not by name.

“The fact that his nomination was defeated solely based on his legal representation of a defendant runs contrary to a fundamental principle of our system of justice – and those who voted against his nomination denied the American people an outstanding public servant,” Obama said.

The nomination also has exposed the political risk for Democrats of deploying the nuclear option.

Sarah Chacko contributed to this report.

 

  • View From The Left

    Disgusting! Voting against a defense lawyer for defense work he did (and that the appeals court found to be correct, btw!) is simply repellant to our Constitution and our morality as a nation.

    Any government that allows only prosecutors to hold government jobs is a government that doesn’t deserve to stand.

    This is why I give my money directly to candidates and not to national parties. I I would be worried that some of my money would go to one of these 7 turncoat Democrats. Better to have loud and proud Democrats willing to stand up and make the argument than to have sniveling cowards too ashamed to stand up for what’s right, too scared to stand up to the bullies in the GOP, too unsteady to stand up against ignorance and too damn limited in their understanding of America to be leaders.

    Shame on Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Chris Coons of Delaware, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and John Walsh of Montana

    • geoffrobinson

      It wasn’t that he was just his lawyer. This went on for years after his initial conviction. Years of lies and trying to do everything possible to get a cop-killer off the hook, not just avoid the death penalty.

      • koolcrud

        That’s what defense attorneys do.

      • MrBeale

        “his went on for years after his initial conviction”

        Maybe you’re new to our system of justice, but we have these things called “appeals,” whereby which convicts are entitled to obtain legal representation even after they’ve been convicted.

        • geoffrobinson

          I’m actually from the Philadelphia area so I’ve been familiar with this case for about 20 years. None of the attorneys who have strung out these appeals deserve to be appointed to dog catcher let alone to anything in the DoJ.

          • View From The Left

            Why? Adegbile’s argument was found to be persuasive (correct) by the Appeals Court so he must have done something right.

          • geoffrobinson

            Getting a judge to agree with one of your arguments is not the standard of truth or righteousness unfortunately.

    • Don

      Well, “View From The Left”, you have set up what is referred to as a “straw man”, a false position statement which is easily refuted. The issue is not the “defense work” which Mr. Adegbile did. The issue is that he was not forthcoming with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee during his confirmation hearing, refusing to answer directly cogent and relevant questions put to him by that committee. Such behavior would disqualify a nominee for any position.

  • Tim Favero

    View from the Left, do you know anything about the case: Abu-Jamal was an unrepentent cop killer who said to witnesses he wanted the police officer to die. Debo Adegbile has characterized the murderer as “a victim of the racial injstices of the death penalty.” That is hardly a very good reason to find him not guilty. Every person is entitled to the best defense available, but it turns out because of Adegbile’s radical view, he was unfit for this position and the seven Dems who voted against him agreed. Perhaps that this was an election year had something to do with this, but he did not deserve the position.

  • johnrf

    The senators who voted against this Debo P. Adegbile are cowards afraid that their constituents would not understand that this man was simply a lawyer giving a defendant a defense to which he is entitled under our system of justice. I guess any criminal lawyer will no longer be eligible to serve in our government. A sad day and shame on the senators who did not trust the voters to understand. Not surprised about my senator Casey, he folds like cheap suit whenever he gets scared.

    I don’t know if Abu-Jamal is guilty or not although I have read about the case and he was convicted. And this lawyer entered the case 25 years after the crime. But Debo P. Adegbile was qualified for the job and should have been confirmed.

    • Don

      I beg to differ. Mr. Adegbile disqualified himself when he refused to answer cogent and relevant questions put to him by the Senate Judiciary Committee:

      “Nevertheless, at Mr. Adegbile’s confirmation hearing last month before the Senate Judiciary Committee, when he was questioned in detail about his own opinions of the incendiary allegations of a racist police conspiracy made by the Legal Defense Fund, Mr. Adegbile avoided answering the inquiries. Instead he repeatedly deflected questions, stating that he was not the lead lawyer on the case—as if, while acting as litigation director and later president of the Legal Defense Fund, he had failed to notice what was said by its lawyers about the group’s most famous client.”
      When a Senate committee holds a confirmation hearing and, in the course of doing it’s job, asks cogent and relevant questions, a nominee can’t stonewall and refuse to answer directly and expect to be confirmed!

    • teapartyidiots

      Coons purely did it because he has Philly suburbs in Delaware and the cops there pressured him. He admitted it.

  • Robert Dickerson

    Considering the miserable failure that is the current justice department under Obama’s Eric Holder, there is little reason to assume that Debo Adegbile would be any better. Working law enforcement and some of the President’s own party stood strong against this nomination and rightfully so.

  • BiffBoop

    Good job rejection this abortionist-homosexualist nominee.

  • BiffBoop

    Good thing Boehndover wasn’t in charge of the Senate or this anti-American radical would have sailed through.

    • MrBeale

      What could be more American than defending even unpopular convicts?

      • BiffBoop

        God, Church, and Guns.

        • http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLA0C3C1D163BE880A Golbez

          lol. I hope this is satire. Everything that is wrong with America in 5 words or less.

  • MrBeale

    “Adegbile’s defense of a cop killer makes him an unsuitable nominee!” – People who voted for John Roberts, a man who defended a convicted mass murderer pro bono.

    • terjeanderson

      Exactly.

      Have Republicans decided that they want all future executive and judicial branch nominees who are lawyers to be rejected if their past clients have been unpopular, distasteful, or otherwise unlikeable characters?

      It goes to the heart of our legal system – defendants are entitled to legal representation, and representing a defendant does not mean approval or agreement with what that defendant may have done. It is simply a lawyer doing his/her job.

      This sets a very dangerous precedent for future nominations.

      • Don

        You would be right IF what you have stated were factually accurate, which it is not. What are the facts?

        Why did Mr. Adegbile, as acting president and director of litigation at the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund, choose to enter the Mumia case in 2009? 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.”

        Nevertheless, at Mr. Adegbile’s confirmation hearing last month before the Senate Judiciary Committee, when he was questioned in detail about his own opinions of the incendiary allegations of a racist police conspiracy made by the Legal Defense Fund, Mr. Adegbile avoided answering the inquiries. Instead he repeatedly deflected questions, stating that he was not the lead lawyer on the case—as if, while acting as litigation director and later president of the Legal Defense Fund, he had failed to notice what was said by its lawyers about the group’s most famous client.
        So the issue with Mr. Adegbile is not who he defended nor is it the nature of the crime of which his client was convicted. The issue is that the legal team being directed by Adegbile claimed racial injustice. Yet when Mr. Adegbile was questioned by members of the U. S. Senate Judiciary Committee regarding the racial aspects of the Mumia case, which was the rationale for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund becoming involved in the first place, Mr. Adegbile refused to speak to the alleged racism issue.
        How can we confirm someone to head the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division who directed a legal team defending a client who was an alleged victim of racial injustice but who flatly refuses to answer Senate committee questions regarding the racial aspects of that case? Such questions go to the heart of what would be Mr. Adegbile’s role in the Department of Justice. They are entirely cogent and relevant and yet Mr. Adegbile essentially stonewalled the Senate committee which was simply seeking to do the job expected of it.

        • cawaterguy

          I love how you completely ignored the argument about how Roberts has defended objectionable characters just the same as Adegbile.

          • michael renn

            I.O.I.Y.A.R.!

          • Don

            I didn’t ignore it. Look up the thread at my response to Golbez.
            The issue is not, as you seek to make it, who defended whom but rather that Roberts answered questions clearly and completely at his confirmation hearing while Adegbile stonewalled questions asked by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
            Apparently Mr. Adegbile thought he could disregard and disrespect a congressional committee, as do Holder and Obama, and get away with it. He didn’t get away with it and even liberal Democrat Harry Reid, the Democrat Majority Leader of the Senate, voted against Adegbile.

          • sam stevenson

            A) Roberts was that mans lawyer, Adegbile was not, and B) Roberts client had no other legal representation, Abu-Jamal had a team of lawyers and C) Roberts client was not already convicted of a crime

      • michael renn

        Conservadems aren’t any better than Republicans Terj.

      • Mike Triplett

        I am an Attorney and I have defended people accused of crimes fo 27 years. But I want all Obama nominees rejected because if he nominated them they are bad for the Country.

      • Lorehead

        I’m a bit conflicted here. On the one hand, I’ve seen a reasonable case that Abu-Jamal, who did definitely kill Daniel Faulkner, acted in the heat of passion (he ran up and confronted Faulkner upon seeing him and other police officers beating his brother) and should not have been convicted of first-degree murder. Also, there did turn out to be an ambiguity in the instructions given to the jury that sentenced him to death, violating his constitutional right not to be deprived of life without due process of law. Abu-Jamal deserved to have a lawyer to make that argument.

        On the other, Abu-Jamal chose to insist that he did not pull the trigger, and the social justice movement chose to invent a number of urban legends about the case that are very easy to disprove with a bit of research. His defense therefore ended up being extremely dishonest.

        • terjeanderson

          Adegbile wasn’t part of a “defense team” that maintained Mumia Abu-Jamal was innocent of the charges. Nor was he engaged in the PR war that went on for years constructing the myths about Abu-Jamal’s action.

          He was peripherally involved in the appeal because the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (where he was head of litigation – not personally arguing the Appeal) found the case raised serious constitutional issues around the jury process – selection and instructions (an argument that the Appeals Court agreed with). Their intervention in the case wasn’t about Abu-Jamal – it was about legal process issues in the case. I’m not aware of any instances of Adegbile engaging in the kind of invention/repetition of “Mumia” public image making efforts.

          Whatever what one thinks of the Mumia Abu-Jamal case and the public attention it attracted, Adegbile wasn’t part of that sideshow.

          • Lorehead

            Then this vote was a travesty.

    • David Stovall

      Many are distorting what Abile did ,,, he didn’t just defend the cop killer in court,,, he went out and campaigned and played race card and tried to make the killer a hero. That is not part of a lawyers job. He was saying that the killing was OK, because the killer is black..

      • Lorehead

        Nonsense. Mumia Abu-Jamal and his lawyers consistently (and falsely) claimed that someone else shot Daniel Faulkner and that he was framed, not that murdering Faulkner was OK.

        • David Stovall

          I am open to good info. More than one source reported that it was an open and shut case, and that is what I was going by. And of course when they play the race card they don’t come out and say the killing is ok in those words. They don’t admit that is what they are saying,, And I didn’t mean they used those words.

          • Lorehead

            Thank you for acknowledging that your allegation about what Mumia Abu-Jamal’s defenders said is false.

  • Linda84072

    Finally the Dem’s did something right.

  • BiffBoop

    Good job rejecting this abortionist, homosexualist nominee.

    • MGB 1800

      That is not all. I heard on FOX NEWS that he is also a Muslimist, and that he was a frequent user of crack cocaine as a young man.

      • BiffBoop

        ^ Can “marry” in some states.

        • cawaterguy

          stop trolling. find something better to do online. there’s a lot of good homosexualist sites you could be checking out. Incognito browsing…nobody has to know!

  • MGB 1800

    Maybe Obama should nominate Alberto Gonzalez, a minority-man of great integrity and with a proven track record.

  • Yorkiemom

    Just had a terrible thought. When Obama leaves he gets to pardon certain people. What if he pardons Mumbia? He would do this to get back at the people who turned down his nominee, he is that vindictive. As far as John Roberts goes, he turned out to be a real gem, didn’t he.

    • http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLA0C3C1D163BE880A Golbez

      You think John Roberts not voting 100% crazy is a reflection of him defending a mass murderer? Is that your thought process? And so that should have justified his nomination being declined? Or are you just trying to apply tortured logic to defend the double standard the republicans have once again gotten themselves into?

      • Don

        Please explain how there is a “double standard” at work. Thank you.

        • http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLA0C3C1D163BE880A Golbez

          Fine voting for John Roberts, who defended a mass murderer.
          Outraged for nominating Adegbile, who defended cop killer.

          Please explain how there’s no double standard at work. Thank you.

          • Don

            The manner in which you have chosen to frame the issue makes it appear as if there is a double standard when, in fact, there is no double standard. Please permit me to explain.

            If Roberts wears blue shirts and Adegbile wears blue shirts as well, it could be claimed that there is a double standard regarding people who wear blue shirts. But the wearing of a blue shirt is not the determining factor. The determining factor is that Roberts adequately responded to questions put to him by Congress and Adegbile did not.

            “Nevertheless, at Mr. Adegbile’s confirmation hearing last month before the Senate Judiciary Committee, when he was questioned in detail about his own opinions of the incendiary allegations of a racist police conspiracy made by the Legal Defense Fund, Mr. Adegbile avoided answering the inquiries. Instead he repeatedly deflected questions, stating that he was not the lead lawyer on the case—as if, while acting as litigation director and later president of the Legal Defense Fund, he had failed to notice what was said by its lawyers about the group’s most famous client.”
            Mr. Adegbile was being evaluated by the Senate Judiciary Committee to determine if he was suited to hold the position for which he had been nominated. That position involves heading up an entire division of the Department of Justice. What is expected of someone in that position is management, oversight, knowledge, accountability and responsibility. But when questioned about his leadership role in the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund’s involvement in the high profile Mumia case, Mr. Adegbile claimed he wasn’t in the know about racism claims because he was not the lead lawyer in that case. But Mr. Adegbile was acting litigation director and later president of the Legal Defense Fund. In that leadership position he should have known, in detail, about the racism aspects of the Mumia case.
            Mr. Adegbile threw down the gauntlet before the Senate Judiciary Committee, informing them ahead of time during his confirmation hearing that he would refuse to be held accountable or responsible for the choices and actions of those he would be charged with directing. It is that open and blatant refusal to accept accountability and responsibility for those he would be leading, as head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, which caused Mr. Adegbile to disqualify himself.
            We have had U. S. Attorney General Eric Holder state that he didn’t know early on about the “Fast and Furious” gun running operation which was being carried out in the department he was leading.
            We have had President Obama state that he too was unaware of the “Fast and Furious” operation being executed by the executive branch which he is responsible for directing.
            Time and again we have seen those charged with overseeing things in the Obama administration claiming no knowledge of what is transpiring on their turf and refusing to take responsibility or to be held accountable. That isn’t how it is supposed to work!
            We need people in leadership positions who are responsible and accountable and who make certain that they know what is transpiring in their area of designated responsibility. Those in leadership positions need to have the attitude that “the buck stops here” rather than the attitude that stuff rolls downhill!

          • Lorehead

            Okay, so there isn’t actually a case against this nomination in particular. It’s just a chance for Republicans to publicly perform their hatred of Barack Obama, never mind the precedent they set.

            I would regard his explanation, that he is not guilty-by-association of statements other people made, as a reasonable answer. And you’re making the personal opinion of your unnamed source that it wasn’t carry a lot of weight.

            Basically, now, if you defend an unsympathetic client, or even submit an amicus brief about a procedural error made by the judge in the case that expresses no opinion on the findings of fact, you are “on his side” and become responsible for what anyone else “on his side” says about the case. And if someone asks you about what those other people said years later, and you reply that you aren’t them, the other political party will pretend that you “stonewalled.”

            As for your irrelevant digression into the Fast & Furious pseudo-scandal, surely you should have equal condemnation for George W. Bush, who was president when it started.

          • Don

            Lorehead wrote: “Okay, so there isn’t actually a case against this nomination in particular.” That is incorrect. The case against this nomination in particular is that Mr. Adegbile refused to answer questions put to him by the Senate Judiciary Committee. In addition, although Mr. Adegbile was in a director’s position during the Mumia litigation, he claims no knowledge of the racism claims involved as he was not the lead prosecutor in the case. Accountability and responsibility come with the job of being a director and as director he should have known what was going on with legal action brought by the NAACP on the basis of claims of racism. Certainly, as head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Mr. Adegbile would be expected to know what is going on in his department and to be accountable and responsible for the actions of those under his supervision. He didn’t demonstrate those qualities with regard to his performance with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

            Lorehead wrote: “I would regard his explanation, that he is not guilty-by-association of statements other people made, as a reasonable answer.” Mr. Adegbile never said that and I challenge you to quote him saying that. You can’t, because he never said it.

            Lorehead wrote: “Basically, now, if you defend an unsympathetic client, or even submit an amicus brief about a procedural error made by the judge in the case that expresses no opinion on the findings of fact, you are “on his side” and become responsible for what anyone else “on his side” says about the case.” No, your statement is factually in error and is nothing more than a liberal tactic of defining a straw man to knock down. I defy you to quote any legal statute that says that. Furthermore, as acting director of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and as someone who signed off on legal briefs in the Mumia case, it was Mr. Adegbile’s duty to know what was going on with the case, including statements about racism by those who he was directly supervising. Again, it’s about accountability and responsibility when in a designated leadership position as Mr. Adegbile would be in if he had become head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

            Lorehead wrote: ” And if someone asks you about what those other people said years later, and you reply that you aren’t them, the other political party will pretend that you “stonewalled.”” Might I suggest that you take a remedial course in reading comprehension. This is what I quoted: “…when he was questioned in detail about his own opinions of the incendiary allegations of a racist police conspiracy made by the Legal Defense Fund…” Mr. Adegbile was asked about his own opinions and not what others said. Nevertheless, Mr. Adegbile refused to answer and that is stonewalling.
            As for your irrelevant digression into George W. Bush, B. Hussein Obama is president now and Eric Holder is Attorney General. It is Eric Holder who has the distinction of being the first sitting Attorney General of The United States to be found in Contempt of Congress and it is B. Hussein Obama who claimed he had no discussions about “Fast and Furious” but who then asserted “executive privilege”, to cover Holder, based upon “privileged communications” about “Fast and Furious”. Furthermore, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry wasn’t killed on Bush’s watch with guns allowed across the border by the federal government and 200-300 Mexican citizens weren’t slaughtered on Bush’s watch with those same guns either.
            Try again when you are able to make accurate, cogent and relevant arguments.

          • Lorehead

            Having read the transcripts of Mr. Adegbile’s questions and answers for the record, I can say that your characterization of them was absolutely false.

            He was repeatedly asked about statements that other people had made about the case, and replied that he had not made those statements. Specifically, he was asked about a petition by Robert Bryan, and said he had not signed the petition. Then he was asked about a different brief filed by Christina Swarms three years before his own, and he said he had not worked on or signed that brief. Then, he was asked about a different statement made by Swarns, and he said he was not aware of that comment and did not know what she meant by it. He additionally said that his brief addressed only the procedural issues in the case and that the Constitution should be followed even in the most difficult cases.

            You try to play a game of telephone by claiming that he was asked about “his opinions”—his opinions, that is, of things other people said years ago.

            What you are demanding is that any lawyer who defends an unsympathetic client should be blacklisted. The Fraternal Order of Police said in its letter that the reason they are upset by him is that he successfully overturned Abu-Jamal’s death sentence, which they believe is just.

            The rest is just guilt-by-association with anything anyone on “his side” had ever said, or as they put it, “your nominee and others like him who turned the justice system on its head with unfounded and unproven allegations of racism.” As anyone pledged to uphold the law should know, all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty, and do not have to prove anything.

          • Don

            Having read the transcripts of Mr. Adegbile’s questions and answers for the record, I can say that your characterization of them is absolutely false. But let’s not speak in abstractions, shall we, let’s quote directly from the written record!

            “Questions for the Record
            for Debo Adegbile (DOJ AAG for Civil Rights)
            Senator Mike Lee
            January 8, 2014″

            “c.”

            “ii. Do you believe that such a failure “had everything to do with race”? If so, please explain your reasoning.”

            “ANSWER: I do not know what Ms. Swarns meant by this comment.”
            Senator Lee did NOT ask Mr. Adegbile if he knew what Ms. Swarns meant by her comment. That was NOT the question put to him. Senator Lee asked Mr. Adegbile if it were his personal belief that the “failure” of the justice system regarding Mumia had everything to do with race. Senator Lee also asked Mr. Adegbile to explain his reasoning if Mr. Adegbile did believe that it had everything to do with race. What was Mr. Adegbile’s response?
            Mr. Adegbile flatly refused to answer the question about HIS personal beliefs, instead talking about how he didn’t know what Ms. Swarns meant by her comment. What is the effect of Mr. Adegbile’s stonewalling of Senator Lee? Neither we nor the Senate Judiciary Committee gained any insight into whether or not Mr. Adegbile holds the personal belief that the “failure” of the justice system in the case of Mumia “had everything to do with race”. That is an exceedingly important personal belief to explore in someone who would be the Department of Justice Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. Mr. Adegbile deliberately kept hidden from the committee and from the American people his personal beliefs about the role of racism in the Mumia case.
            Clearly, the hard facts do not support your propaganda and subjective opinions. That’s where liberals always fail. The facts simply are not on their side.

          • Lorehead

            In context, Adegbile is repeating his answer from when Chuck Grassley asked him essentially the same question:

            a. Does Ms. Swarns’s claim that the “justice system…completely and utterly failed Mumia Abu-Jamal in [LDF’s] view” refer to LDF’s prior allegations of a culture of racial discrimination in the Philadelphia County District Attorney’s Office?

            ANSWER: Ms. Swarns was counsel of record on the aforementioned briefs; I was not. I am not familiar with Ms. Swarns’ comments and am not aware of the context in which they were offered. I do not know what Ms. Swarns had in mind when she made the comment.

            Lee then tries to insinuate, three times, that Adegbile must have agreed with Swarns. This is completely unreasonable in a case that lasted over twenty years and had multiple teams of defense lawyers.

          • Don

            Wrong. Senator Grassley asked Mr. Adegbile a question about “Ms. Swarns’s claim”. Senator Lee asked Mr. Adegbile a question which began, “Do YOU believe…” Senator Grassley was asking Mr. Adegbile about the statement of Ms. Swarns. Senator Lee was asking Mr. Adegbile about his own personal beliefs. The fact that you seem unable to grasp that distinction doesn’t mean that the committee or the American people can’t grasp that distinction.

            Lorehead wrote: “Lee then tries to insinuate, three times, that Adegbile must have agreed with Swarns.” Wrong. Senator Lee did not “try to insinuate” anything. Using the term “insinuate” is a disingenuous effort on your part to prop up a failed argument which is not supported by the hard facts which are a matter of written record. Let us, yet once again, look at Senator Lee’s question and Mr. Adegbile’s response:

            “Questions for the Record
            for Debo Adegbile (DOJ AAG for Civil Rights)
            Senator Mike Lee
            January 8, 2014″

            “c.”

            “ii. Do you believe that such a failure “had everything to do with race”? If so, please explain your reasoning.”

            “ANSWER: I do not know what Ms. Swarns meant by this comment.”

            Senator Lee’s questions begins, “Do you believe…” Senator Lee is asking Mr. Adegbile about his personal beliefs. In his “answer”, Mr. Adegbile refuses to disclose to Senator Lee, the Senate Judiciary Committee and the American people his own personal beliefs regarding racism in the Mumia case. That is stonewalling and neither Senator Lee, the Senate Judiciary Committee or the American people will tolerate a nominee stonewalling and flatly refusing to answer a question which goes to the heart of how that nominee will think and perform as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.

          • Lorehead

            Additionally, you leave out what he had said immediately before. “I know that the court found that there was a constitutional infirmity in the sentencing phase of Mr. Abu Jamal’s case and accordingly vacated his death sentence [....]”

            Since he had just given an example of how the appeals court had made a ruling in Abu-Jamal’s favor that had nothing to do with race, he had already, and clearly, said that he did not believe that the courts had “completely and utterly failed” his client or that the verdict “had everything to do with race.”

          • Don

            What Mr. Adegbile said “before” is not the issue. It is Mr. Adegbile’s response to a question put to him directly by Senator Lee which is the issue. Here, again, is the question and Mr. Adegbile’s answer:

            “Questions for the Record
            for Debo Adegbile (DOJ AAG for Civil Rights)
            Senator Mike Lee
            January 8, 2014″

            “c.”

            “ii. Do you believe that such a failure “had everything to do with race”? If so, please explain your reasoning.”

            “ANSWER: I do not know what Ms. Swarns meant by this comment.”

            Mr. Adegbile flatly refused to answer the question about his personal beliefs. What you surmise on Mr. Adegbile’s behalf is irrelevant. You may have noticed that the Senate Judiciary Committee did not ask you to appear before them to interpret Mr. Adegbile’s responses or put them in context. That is because the point of the hearing is to ask the nominee questions and to hear the nominees responses in their own words. Those words then become a matter of written record which may be quoted in blogs like this.

          • Lorehead

            What Mr. Adegbile said “before” is not the issue

            Since you have just openly admitted that your interpretation makes no sense unless you ignore the answers he gave the previous three times he’d been asked about this snippet of what someone else had said at a rally, you are not approaching this discussion in good faith. If the partisan affiliations were reversed, you would see what a bad precedent this vote sets.

          • Don

            I’ll be patient with you since it is clear that you have a comprehension problem. We’ll go over the facts, rather than your propaganda, deductions and interpretations,
            one more time. Ready? From the top.

            Senator Mike Lee asked Mr. Adegbile a very simple question. Here is the very simple question which Senator Lee asked Mr. Adegbile:

            “Questions for the Record
            for Debo Adegbile (DOJ AAG for Civil Rights)
            Senator Mike Lee
            January 8, 2014″

            “c.”

            “ii. Do you believe that such a failure “had everything to do with race”? If so, please explain your reasoning.”

            Now, there are two possible legitimate answers to that question; “yes” and “no”. If Mr. Adegbile answered in the negative, “no”, then no further explanation was requested. If Mr. Adegbile answered in the affirmative, “yes”, then he was requested to explain his reasoning. Now, do you see how very simple this is? All Mr. Adegbile had to do was to answer “yes” or “no”. It couldn’t be more simple! But what happened? What happened was that Mr. Adegbile refused to answer the question put to him. What was Mr. Adegbile’s response?

            “ANSWER: I do not know what Ms. Swarns meant by this comment.”

            That does NOT answer the question asked by Senator Lee. It avoids answering the question and nominees who avoid answering cogent and relevant questions put to them by members of Congress during confirmation hearings disqualify themselves as they are obstructing the process and failing to fully disclose vital information needed to determine if they are fit for the position for which they have been nominated.

            Lorehead wrote: “ETA: In addition, the question itself is absurd.” Really? What is absurd about the question:

            “Do you believe that such a failure “had everything to do with race”?”

            There is nothing “absurd” about the question and it addresses Mr. Adegbile’s personal beliefs about racism and the justice system, something which Mr. Adegbile would be expected to address on a regular basis were he to be confirmed.

            Lorehead wrote: “It is simply not reasonable to present a nominee a list of soundbites from other people and demand he denounce them all, one by one.”

            Where in this question does Senator Lee “demand” that Mr. Adegbile “denounce” other people?

            “Do you believe that such a failure “had everything to do with race”?

            Fortunately, we have a written record of the hearing so that liberals like you are unable to twist, distort and misrepresent the facts.

            Lorehead wrote: “It is not a dodge to reply that she said that, not him, and he doesn’t have the context. It’s irrelevant.” Really? Let’s quote Mr. Adegbile’s answer to Senator Lee’s question:

            “ANSWER: I do not know what Ms. Swarns meant by this comment.”

            By Mr. Adegbile’s answer one would think that Senator Lee had asked Mr. Adegbile what Ms. Swarns meant by her comment. Mr. Adegbile’s answer would be a reasonable answer to such a question. However, Senator Lee did NOT ask Mr. Adegbile what Ms. Swarns meant by her comment. This is what Senator Lee asked Mr. Adegbile:

            “Do you believe that such a failure “had everything to do with race”? If so, please explain your reasoning.”
            That question asks NOTHING about Ms. Swarns. It asks NOTHING about what Ms. Swarns meant. It does not ask Mr. Adegbile to “denounce” anyone. It asks Mr. Adegbile about HIS personal beliefs regarding racism and the justice system.
            No matter how you try to apply liberal spin, twist, distortion and misrepresentation you can’t avoid the hard and unchanging facts of the written record of the hearing. They are immutable. You are powerless to alter one word of the written record and so your attempts at propaganda fail over and over again and will continue to fail over and over again until the end of time.

          • Lorehead

            You have nothing left to contribute to this conversation, and are merely repeating yourself, so I will summarize why you are wrong for any lurkers who see this, and flounce.

            The actual reasons Republicans opposed Abegdile were to sabotage the Obama administration and because he had once successfully defended an unsympathetic defendant, helping to overturn his death sentence. However, you cannot admit that those are your motives, since they are indefensible. To set the precedent that standing up for a guilty man whose rights were violated gets a lawyer blacklisted, or the precedent that the Senate will vote against any nominee from the other party, would be bad for America.

            Therefore, you need another excuse. But there was nothing unethical about how he defended Mumia Abu-Jamal, and there was nothing objectionable about what he said about the case. So you have nothing on him.

            But! The case lasted twenty years, and involved many other lawyers. One of them, who had worked on the same case three years before him, said something at a rally that the right wing arbitrarily decided to throw a hissy fit about. So he was asked about it four times. He didn’t agree with it. Any sane person who read what he said just seconds before the passage you quote would agree that he had just said the system did not utterly fail his client and the verdict was not all about race.

            Your excuse is so absurd that I will simply state it and it refutes itself. If you ignore the part of his testimony where he answered the question, you can pretend that he didn’t answer a ridiculous question that no white person would ever have been asked.

          • Don

            Lorehead wrote: “You have nothing left to contribute to this conversation, and are merely repeating yourself…” Oh, sure I have things to contribute to this conversation. Primarily, I can keep you from getting away with attempting to pass off liberal spin, hype, distortions and misrepresentations on the unsuspecting. That is a service! Furthermore, I have to repeat myself to restate the objective facts, which are a matter of written record, which you choose to ignore. Restating the truth and the objective facts is always of value, especially when dealing with a liberal who is allergic to truth and the facts!

            Lorehead wrote: “The actual reasons Republicans opposed Abegdile were to sabotage the Obama administration…” And there we have it, folks! Lorehead reveals himself to be a “conspiracy theorist”! Seeing black helicopters, are we?

            Might I remind you, Lorehead, that seven Democrats voted against Adegbile. If all Democrats had voted for Adegbile, he would have been confirmed. So if you want to blame someone for sabotaging the Obama administration, blame Senate Democrats! There goes your conspiracy theory!

            Lorehead wrote: “So you have nothing on him.” So you are asking me to repeat the facts I have already presented showing what we have on him. Inasmuch as I understand that you are learning challenged and have to hear to facts numerous times, I’ll be more than happy to explain yet again what we have on Mr. Adegbile!

            Here is the question put to Mr. Adegbile by U. S. Senator Mike Lee during Adegbile’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee:

            “Questions for the Record
            for Debo Adegbile (DOJ AAG for Civil Rights)
            Senator Mike Lee
            January 8, 2014″

            “c.”

            “ii. Do you believe that such a failure “had everything to do with race”? If so, please explain your reasoning.”

            Here is Mr. Adegbile’s evasive non-answer:

            “ANSWER: I do not know what Ms. Swarns meant by this comment.”

            Mr. Adegbile refused to answer Senator Lee’s question which only required a simple “yes” or “no” response. Mr. Adegbile’s personal beliefs regarding failures of the justice system and race go to the heart of how he would perform as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. The question could not have been more relevant and simple yet Mr. Adegbile refused to answer it.

            Avoiding giving a clear and direct answer to a clear and direct question, of the utmost relevance to the position for which Mr. Adegbile had been nominated, disqualifies Mr. Adegbile on the face of it.
            The Senate does not hold confirmation hearings to rubber stamp the president’s nominees. It holds confirmation hearings to assure that nominees are willing and able to do the job which the American people expect them to do. Mr. Adegbile failed to pass that scrutiny. In fact, Mr. Adegbile failed so badly that seven Senate Democrats, members of the president’s own political party, voted “No!” on Mr. Adegbile.
            Now try again. You might consider leaving out the conspiracy theory next time and you would do well to remember in your next outing that it was Senate Democrats who sank the Adegbile nomination and not Republicans as you erroneously stated. Got it?

          • Lorehead

            This is just to let you know that, since I said I’ll flounce, I won’t be responding to your copypasta. We’ll just have to agree to disagree. Have a nice day, and I seriously hope you don’t regret this vote the next time a Republican tries to appoint someone.

          • Don

            If you look up at the very top of this page, Lorehead, you’ll see an article there. The title is as follows:

            “Democrats Defect, Sink Obama’s Civil Rights Pick”
            I won’t regret this vote the next time a Republican tries to appoint someone because it was Democrats who killed the Adegbile nomination, just as the article title states.
            Thank you for being strong and sharp but civil. It’s fine to toss in a few zingers but neither of us went out of bounds. That proves that it can be done no matter how strongly people may disagree. I think we both did well. Hats off to us!
            By the way, Data is cool!

          • Lorehead

            Glad you also found the conversation stimulating. This seems like a good stopping-point?

          • Don

            Yeah. It’s good for me. Is it good for you? ;-)

    • Don Carpenter

      Presidents can only pardon those convicted of federal crimes. Mumia would have to be pardoned by a PA governor.

      • Yorkiemom

        So?? When has this “president” followed the constitution, much less the law? Answer: When and if it suits him. I still think he will
        give it a whirl, given the current white house’s thinking of blacks in prison and the fact he has an excellent chance of getting by with it yet once more.

        • Lorehead

          Does anybody, anybody at all, remember what they thought five years ago about George W. Bush, the Unitary Executive theory, presidential powers in general and signing statements in particular?

  • Six Edits

    Any way you slice it, today’s liberalism is juvenile nonsense.

    • teapartyidiots

      I’m sorry believing in equality for EVERYONE, keeping religion out of politics, and thinking I have the right to make MY OWN medical decisions strikes you as juvenile.

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