3/9/2014—On Wednesday, the US Senate voted 54-47 to reject Debo Adegbile as head of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. The ostensible reason was Adegbile's representation of convicted killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.
This is how Senator Toomey put it in an email he sent to me and many other Pennsylvania citizens: "As head of the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund, Debo Adegbile helped fan racial tensions by joining the offensive public crusade to lionize Mumia Abu-Jamal, the unrepentant killer of Philadelphia police officer Danny Faulkner."
As I tried to write to Toomey in response—his system for response does not work—all criminal defendants are entitled to representation, not just repentant ones. And, basically, Adegbile's representation was vindicated by the result in the case. The death penalty was overturned in the courts. The one playing the race card here is Toomey.
Conservatives like Toomey like to claim they follow the framers of the Constitution and history generally. But, Toomey must have been absent when his class in school was taught about the representation by John Adams in 1770 of British soldiers accused of killing American protestors. At the end of his life, Adams was said to have called this unpopular representation his finest moment.
But at least Toomey is willing to acknowledge his actions. I heard nothing from Senator Casey about his vote against Adegbile. John Micek in the Partiot-News speculated that Casey may have been under pressure from the Philadelphia Police Union. But whether this is so or not,
Casey's vote was a disservice to his constituents and his political party. I doubt the vote was cast on the merits.