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Wed Mar 5, 2014, 01:52 PM

Meet The 7 Democrats Who Just Voted Down A Civil Rights Nominee For Supporting Civil Rights

Meet The 7 Democrats Who Just Voted Down A Civil Rights Nominee For Supporting Civil Rights

By Ian Millhiser

Debo Adegbile, who previously served as the acting head of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, is one of the nation’s top civil rights attorneys. He’s also a leading expert on voting rights who twice defended the Voting Rights Act before the Supreme Court — the first time successfully. He was, in other words, an ideal candidate to lead the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division — the division which, among other things, oversees the federal government’s voting rights work in an era where conservative state lawmakers are currently waging a widespread campaign to prevent demographic groups that tend to vote for Democrats from casting a ballot.

And yet, the Senate just voted his nomination down, thanks to seven Democrats. The Democrats who opposed Adegbile’s confirmation are Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Mark Pryor (D-AR) and John Walsh (D-MT).

Although most of these senators have yet to offer an explanation for their votes — and the Senate offices ThinkProgress contacted shortly after the vote were not especially forthcoming — it is likely that their votes were motivated by a campaign to disqualify Adegbile because of a high profile case the NAACP LDF participated in during his time with that organization.

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.

- more -

http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/03/05/3364851/meet-the-7-democrats-who-just-voted-down-a-civil-rights-nominee-for-supporting-civil-rights/



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Reply Meet The 7 Democrats Who Just Voted Down A Civil Rights Nominee For Supporting Civil Rights (Original post)
ProSense Mar 2014 OP
BanzaiBonnie Mar 2014 #1
frazzled Mar 2014 #3
BanzaiBonnie Mar 2014 #7
frazzled Mar 2014 #10
reddread Mar 2014 #2
octoberlib Mar 2014 #4
benld74 Mar 2014 #5
ProSense Mar 2014 #6
alp227 Mar 2014 #8
ProSense Mar 2014 #9

Response to ProSense (Original post)

Wed Mar 5, 2014, 02:05 PM

1. So, let's make sure we understand this...

Last edited Wed Mar 5, 2014, 03:50 PM - Edit history (1)

a lawyer was dismissed from taking one job, because he's previously been conscientious at his job?

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Response to BanzaiBonnie (Reply #1)

Wed Mar 5, 2014, 02:11 PM

3. Um, no: what he did was not contentious

in itself, and even less so if one looks at the breadth of his career. Has the same standard been applied to other nominations? Has a heinous past client been used against any other judicial nominees?

Let's take a look:

Three months ago, John Errol Ferguson was executed for one of the worst mass murders in Florida’s history. After tricking his way into a woman’s home, he eventually bound, blindfolded and shot eight people. Six of them died. While under indictment for those crimes, Ferguson murdered two teenagers on their way to church.

Ferguson might have been executed earlier, but his attorneys, one of whom was later rewarded with a position of unparalleled influence in the U.S. government, argued Ferguson was mentally ill and dragged out the process for years.

What kind of person would defend a butcher with the blood of eight people on his hands?

It was Chief Justice John Roberts, who devoted 25 pro bono hours to Ferguson’s case when he was working in private practice.
Later, when Roberts was nominated to the nation’s highest court, his work on the Ferguson case wasn’t seen by anyone as a hinderance. “A good lawyer like John Roberts may not share the client’s priorities, they might not share the client’s worldview, what they’re committed to is the application of rights under law,” says Charles Geyh, an expert on legal ethics and professor at the Indiana University School of Law.

Not everyone is willing to extend that view to Debo Adegbile, President Obama’s nominee to head the civil rights division at the Department of Justice.

http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/obama-pick-targeted-where-others-were-spared

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Response to frazzled (Reply #3)

Wed Mar 5, 2014, 03:52 PM

7. Sorry frazzled, spell check messed up my post.

I was so disgusted at the dismissal of another of our President's picks, I missed that my word was changed to a word with an entirely different meaning.

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Response to BanzaiBonnie (Reply #7)

Wed Mar 5, 2014, 06:31 PM

10. Happens to the best of us!

I'm depressed about it too. We're on the same page.

I have learned not to let auto correct be operative on my computer. But on the iPad, oy ... don't know how to turn it off, and it changes every second word you type. I try not to even answer emails on that thing, because people receiving them will wonder what the heck I've been drinking!

Cheers!

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Wed Mar 5, 2014, 02:10 PM

2. and justice for all n/t

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Wed Mar 5, 2014, 02:17 PM

4. Have Heitkamp, Manchin and Pryor

voted with the Democratic majority on anything in the past year? I'm sick of these three and Landreiu.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Wed Mar 5, 2014, 02:30 PM

5. Smells like yet anther crock to me

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Wed Mar 5, 2014, 03:45 PM

6. One Hour After Opposing Top Voting Rights Lawyer, Senator Fundraises Off Voting Rights

One Hour After Opposing Top Voting Rights Lawyer, Senator Fundraises Off Voting Rights

By Ian Millhiser

A fundraising email sent by Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) this afternoon claims that “(i)f there’s one thing we should all be able to agree on, it’s that every American deserves the right to vote. It’s one of our most basic rights – but right now it’s under attack.”

Heitkamp is correct. Indeed, one of the ways that voting rights are currently under attack is that Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) voted on Wednesday to block Debo Adegbile, the attorney who twice defended the Voting Rights Act in the Supreme Court, from being confirmed to head the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

The vote wrapped up shortly after noon today. A copy of Heitkamp’s email obtained by ThinkProgress is timestamped “Wed, Mar 5, 2014 at 1:11 PM,” which means that Heitkamp waited about one hour after she opposed one of the nation’s leading voting rights advocates to send out an email trying to fundraise off of her support for legislation seeking to “restore voting rights for all Americans.” Ironically, the reason why this legislation is necessary is because five conservative justices rejected Mr. Adegbile’s arguments seeking to preserve a key provision of the Voting Rights Act.

A screenshot of Heitkamp’s email is copied below:



- more -

http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/03/05/3365481/one-hour-after-opposing-top-voting-rights-lawyer-senator-fundraises-off-voting-rights/


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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Wed Mar 5, 2014, 04:00 PM

8. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania? not surprising since the Mumia case happened in his own state,

and clearly voting yes would tick off a LOT of people there.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Wed Mar 5, 2014, 04:04 PM

9. "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) switched his vote to 'no' "

<...>

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) switched his vote to 'no' at the end, in order to reserve his right to bring up the nomination again.

"We knew it was going to be a close vote, one way or another," Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) told TPM. "I'm hopeful that will come up again. I'm disappointed that ."

Republicans used the occasion to bash the president.

"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 Reince Priebus, the chair of the Republican National Committee.

The Democrats who voted against cloture on the nomination were Sens. Joe Donnelly (IN), Heidi Heitkamp (ND), Joe Manchin (WV), Mark Pryor (AR), John Walsh (MT), Coons, Casey and (for procedural reasons) Reid.

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/senate-democrats-torpedo-obama-s-top-civil-rights-nominee

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