News / USA

Democrats in US Senate Block Obama Civil Rights Lawyer

FILE - Debo Adegbile, special counsel, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, outside the Supreme Court, Washington, Feb. 27, 2013.FILE - Debo Adegbile, special counsel, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, outside the Supreme Court, Washington, Feb. 27, 2013.
x
FILE - Debo Adegbile, special counsel, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, outside the Supreme Court, Washington, Feb. 27, 2013.
FILE - Debo Adegbile, special counsel, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, outside the Supreme Court, Washington, Feb. 27, 2013.
Reuters
Several of President Barack Obama's Democrats in the U.S. Senate joined Republicans on Wednesday to block his nominee to a top Justice Department job after complaints that the lawyer, Debo Adegbile, had once helped represent a convicted “cop killer.”
 
Adegbile, a former director at the Legal Defense Fund of the civil rights group NAACP, had been nominated to head the Justice Department's civil rights division.
 
Seven Democrats joined Republicans in the procedural vote blocking the nomination. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid eventually joined them in a maneuver to preserve his right to bring up the nomination again.
 
The final vote was 47-52, with 51 votes needed for the nomination to proceed.
 
It was the first time that an Obama pick has been blocked in the Senate since Democrats changed the rules last year to strip Republicans of their power to stop a nominee on their own.
 
The Fraternal Order of Police had helped rally opposition against Adegbile, calling Obama's selection of him “a thumb in the eye of law enforcement.”
 
Scores of civil rights groups backed Adegbile, calling him “a tireless advocate,” and “a skilled litigator” who was well qualified for the job.
 
Backers said Adegbile should not be punished for his limited representation several years ago of Mumia Abdu-Jamal, who was sentenced to death for the 1981 murder of a Philadelphia police officer.
 
Abu-Jamal's case stirred debate inside and outside America about the fairness of the U.S. justice system and the application of the death penalty.
 
Courts upheld Abu-Jamal's conviction. Before Adegbile got involved, the sentence was reduced to life in prison because of what judges called improper instructions to the jury.
 
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell opposed the nominee, saying, “Everyone deserves a fair trial and a zealous legal defense. And lawyers aren't personally responsible for the actions of their clients.
 
“But lawyers are responsible for their own actions. In this case, the nominee inserted his office in an effort to turn reality on its head, impugn honorable and selfless law enforcement officers, and glorify an unrepentant cop-killer,” McConnell said.
 
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, defended the nominee, saying: “Debo's role in the Abu-Jamal case was limited to two Supreme Court briefs and one Third [U.S.] Circuit [Court of Appeals] brief.”
 
“Attempts to attribute more to Debo, including out-of-court statements by other [NAACP] LDF attorneys, are unfounded,” Leahy said.

You May Like

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid