Obama Appoints Mumia Abu-Jamal’s Attorney to Civil Rights Commission

Dave Boyer, Washington Times, December 15, 2016

In a move sure to fray his relations with law enforcement, President Obama on Thursday appointed Debo Adegbile, a former attorney for convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, to a six-year post on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

Mr. Adegbile worked at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund when he represented Abu-Jamal in the appeal of his conviction and death sentence for the notorious 1981 shooting death of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. Abu-Jamal’s sentence was reduced to life in prison.

The case prompted the Senate to reject Mr. Adegbile’s nomination in 2014 when Mr. Obama appointed him to lead the Justice Department’s office on civil rights. Some Democrats joined Republicans in voting down the selection at that time.

Liberals praised the latest nomination. The Center for American Progress cited Mr. Adegbile’s “work on employment, housing discrimination, criminal justice and voting rights.”

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The Senate’s rejection of Mr. Adegbile on a 52-47 vote in 2014 marked the first time that the Senate rejected one of Mr. Obama’s nominees since Democrats changed filibuster rules to require only a simple majority for presidential nominations, an easier threshold that the Adegbile pick still failed.

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After the nomination was defeated, Mr. Obama called the vote a “travesty based on wildly unfair character attacks against a good and qualified public servant.”

“Those who voted against his nomination denied the American people an outstanding public servant,” Mr. Obama said.

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The eight-member civil rights commission consists of four members appointed by the president and four appointed by Congress. The six-year appointments are not subject to Senate confirmation.

The commission is an independent, bipartisan, fact-finding federal agency with a mission to “inform the development of national civil rights policy and enhance enforcement of federal civil rights laws,” according to its website.

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