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by
Bridget Johnson

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March 5, 2014 - 11:31 am

President Obama blasted senators, including several from his own party, who today blocked the nomination of his pick to lead the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice.

Democratic Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), John Walsh (Mont.), Chris Coons (Del.) and Bob Casey Jr. (Pa.) joined with Republicans to block the nomination, the first cloture failure since Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) detonated the nuclear option.

Reid switched his “yes” vote to “no” at the last minute, allowing him to resurrect the nomination down the road.

The rebuke of Obama’s pick came as Vice President Biden was presiding over the Senate, on hand to cast a tie-breaker vote that wasn’t needed. Debo Adegbile went down 47-52.

Adegbile’s nomination was hotly contested because of his defense of cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal. Adegbile was the director of litigation for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund when it took up Abu-Jamal’s case on appeal.

“The Senate’s failure to confirm Debo Adegbile to lead the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice is a travesty based on wildly unfair character attacks against a good and qualified public servant. Mr. Adegbile’s qualifications are impeccable,” Obama said in a statement.

“He represents the best of the legal profession, with wide-ranging experience, and the deep respect of those with whom he has worked. His unwavering dedication to protecting every American’s civil and Constitutional rights under the law – including voting rights – could not be more important right now,” the president continued. “And 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.”

“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.”

On the Senate floor this morning, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) propped up a large wedding photo of Abu-Jamal’s victim, Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner, slain in 1981.

Reid argued that Adegbile shouldn’t be punished for guilt by association because he “didn’t step into one courtroom on behalf of the murderer.”

But Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) noted in a floor speech that Adegbile’s hands were plenty dirty. “As the Fraternal Order of Police stated in its letter of opposition, in the decades Mr. Adegbile pushed this effort, he ‘falsely disparaged and savaged the good name and reputation of a lifeless police officer’ in order to further his case,” Flake said. “The National Narcotic [Officers] Association shares this analysis of Mr. Adegbile’s advocacy, noting that he ‘fabricated a baseless and unproven defense while also defaming the victim, Police Officer Daniel Faulkner, which raises serious questions about the nominee’s judgment, especially considering the important position to which he has been nominated.’”

“I do not think we would be moving forward on such a divisive nominee – one who elicits widespread opposition from across the political spectrum – if the majority had not employed the nuclear option last November,” added Flake.

The Republican National Committee promptly jumped on vulnerable Democrats who voted in favor of cloture, including Sens. Kay Hagan (N.C.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Mark Begich (Alaska).

“This is an embarrassment for President Obama and the Democrats who thought it was a good idea to nominate a convicted cop-killer’s most ardent defender to head a DOJ Department and failed,” said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. “Vulnerable Democrats running in 2014 just voted to confirm a radical nominee whose positions on civil rights, religious liberty, voting rights and the Second Amendment are far outside the mainstream.”

Toomey, who with fellow Pennsylvania senator Casey rallied the coalition that brought down Adegbile, said “the Senate affirmed that our criminal justice system must never be abused to propagate a dishonest, radical agenda.”

“Today is a good day for Pennsylvania, for America, and for those who believe in justice,” Toomey said. “It was a hard fought victory to the end.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
Are the "character attacks" as "wildly unfair" as gunning down a police officer in cold blood?
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
WHICH "wildly unfair" attacks?

That he went outside the boundaries of zealous advocacy into the realm of lying, slandering and creating a false narrative?

Obama's nominations are legendary for their lack of boundaries in terms of honor, decency and pro-America biographies.

So many of his nominations are clueless clowns, treasonous traitors, abusers of power and attackers of the Constitution.

Tom Perez, Van Jones, Samantha Power, and a host of flower squirting, floppy shoe wearing, big red ball nosed ambassadors.

Obama has no credibility. None.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Great work Bridget. This is a keeper for the Senate races later...
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (48)
All Comments   (48)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
Obama has never grown up. He remains at the emotional level an adolescant who is stuck. Expect nothing from this boy or lad or
kid, as he admires himself, his ideas, and his image as a world leader. [He isn't but not one in the inner circle dares tell him is a in last place.]
He has been promoted beyond his abilities and facing reality is hard indeed. In order to maintain the self-image he sports, he surrounds himself with those who sing his praises and his uncommon gifts.
There is no reality to BHO. We know little about him that is sure. His adopted name is not his name so far as I can tell. Of greater importance to the United States is the fact we have a man who does not know himself, strengths or weaknesses.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
wildly unfair? knee grow pooleeze!!
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama needed to have Adegbile in place so he could move him into the Attorney General nomination when Holder leaves later this year. And he's determined to have him onboard the "civil rights" division to continue the fight against voter ID in the meantime. ... And shouldn't it be illegal to fabricate a legal defense, to lie, to defame someone who can no longer defend himself or be placed on the stand to refute the lies? Honestly, the legal profession is truly the oldest profession.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Every now and then what goes around comes around.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
"...wildly unfair character attacks....."

Such exquisite hypocrisy coming from the Great Liar.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
The only thing unfair to Liberals, is TRUTH!
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hmmm. Something fishy here. republicans "standing up and opposing" obama? Several dems jumping on board? How is it that just enough dems were on board to kill this thing? Did a guy like this EVER stand a snowball's chance in the senate anyway? Could this possibly have been a throw away by obama, to give his prison bi*ch McConnell something to take to the base? This just seems way too convenient to me, and it was just way too easy, given the rest of the radical left-wing appointments the gop has rubber stamped over the last five years....

Am I just being paranoid?
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
ever hear the expression "He'd lie when the truth sounds better"?

that's obama...
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
" Wildly unfair" ? What is wildly unfair is that this cretin injected himself into an outcome which had already been determined. Had he and his celebrity advocates not gotten involved Mummia would have been the toast he richly deserved to be. What's even worse is that this guy, as well as Holder. believe that blacks should not be prosecuted for rape , theft, burglary, assault or murder, or any other crime simply because they're black and deserve some special treatment because they are.
They want a double standard for crime determined simply by race.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Don't you worry about denying us "an outstanding public servant" Mr. President. There are plenty more of your type of people ready to crawl from under their rocks whenever you call them to service.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
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