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Offline rangerrebew

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Obama's DOJ nominee represented cop killer Mumia Abu Jamal.
« on: December 30, 2013, 05:40:36 AM »
Obama’s DOJ civil rights nominee represented cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal

Posted By Patrick Howley On 11:00 PM 12/29/2013 In | No Comments

President Barack Obama’s nominee to head the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Civil Rights Division led the group that represents convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Debo Adegbile, who awaits Senate confirmation to become assistant attorney general for civil rights in Eric Holder’s DOJ, would bring a radical record on racial issues to his new job, which is responsible for enforcing federal discrimination statues.

Currently senior counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Adegbile worked for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF), a civil rights law firm independent of the NAACP, from 2001 to May 2013. He served as director of litigation under president John Payton when LDF took on Abu-Jamal’s case in 2011. In his role at the time, Adegbile “oversees the legal program and supervises the legal staff in the areas Criminal, and Economic Justice, Education, and Political Participation, while remaining actively engaged in litigation and advocacy.”

Abu-Jamal, a former member of the Black Panther Party, was convicted for the December 1981 murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner, stemming from a shootout that resulted after Abu-Jamal approached Faulkner, who had pulled over Abu-Jamal’s younger brother at a traffic stop.

In addition to his membership in the Black Panther Party, Abu-Jamal was loosely associated with the Philadelphia based separatist organization MOVE. While supporters describe him as a journalist, Abu-Jamal was driving a taxi at the time he murdered Faulkner. He has since become an iconic figure in the left-wing media and activist circles.

“Abu-Jamal supporters are very encouraged by the fact that a case that officially began almost 30 years ago, on December 9, 1981, is being given the kind of attention and resources that the LDF, the premier legal organization fighting for racial justice in this country, is now devoting to this important case,” according to

At the time, Payton said, “Mumia Abu-Jamal’s conviction and death sentence are relics of a time and place that was notorious for police abuse and racial discrimination. Unless and until courts acknowledge and correct these historic injustices, death sentences like Mr. Abu-Jamal’s will invite continued skepticism of the criminal justice system by the African-American community.”

LDF Criminal Justice director Christina Swarns successfully fought to commute Abu-Jamal’s death sentence to life imprisonment in 2012.

When Payton died on March 22, 2012, Adegbile took over as acting president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

On March 26, 2012, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected LDF’s attempt to appeal Abu-Jamal’s capital murder conviction, but LDF under acting president Adegbile reportedly refused to stop fighting for him.

“Although this decision concludes all of Mr. Abu-Jamal’s pending appeals, the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. and Prof. Judy Ritter are actively researching and investigating all options for future legal challenges to Mr. Abu-Jamal’s conviction,” according to a contemporaneous report on

On April 16, 2012, Adegbile joined his colleagues and Attorney General Eric Holder — who read remarks sent from President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama — in speaking at the Washington Convention Center for a tribute to Payton.

According to a contemporaneous NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund event summary, the “point” of Adegbile’s speech “was reinforced briefly but powerfully when the next speaker, Christina Swarns, director of LDF’s Criminal Justice Practice, read a hand-written note she had received from Mumia Abu-Jamal.”

“I was off death row, and, thanks to John, represented by one of the most respected civil rights litigation agencies in America. But life is, if anything, unpredictable. Within weeks of my leaving death row, news came of the passing of John Payton. To call it a shock would be an understatement… John Payton shows us that a great impact cannot be measured by time. He brought depth and insight that will continue to radiate not just through the agency but through many of its clients. I know. I am one of them, and I am thankful for our time together,” Abu-Jamal stated in his remarks.

LDF continued to represent Abu-Jamal under Adegbile’s acting presidency. Though he turned over the presidency of the group to Sherrilyn Ifill in November 2012, he remained with the Fund until May 2013, during which time LDF attorney Swarns filed another appeal challenging Abu-Jamal’s sentencing in February 2013.

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund still acts as Abu-Jamal’s current legal counsel, according to

Adegbile, who once said that “the Voting Rights Act is Alabama’s gift to this country” and also said that Martin Luther King, Jr. would not want the United States to “blow up the bridge” of affirmative action, is a New York University Law School graduate who cut his teeth as part of the legal team in NAACP v. Harris, which won “certain improvements in Florida’s election system” after the 2000 Bush-Gore election, on behalf of minority voters.

As noted by staunch Adegbile critic J. Christian Adams, Adegbile filed a U.S. Supreme Court brief as acting director-counsel of LDF in which he successfully argued against plaintiff Abigail Noel Fisher, a white woman who claimed that the University of Texas Law School’s Affirmative Action admissions policy prevented her from gaining admission.

Adegbile defended his position in the case with an guest column in which he used personal experience to tout the benefits of diversity.

“As I reached out to hug a [soccer] teammate who was walking apart from the group he turned and snapped at me ‘get off me, you fuzzy foreigner,’” Adegbile wrote.

“This incident was well over twenty years ago, but I remember it clearly. We were both people of modest means who loved the game, but in the blink of an eye, our similarities seemed to be meaningless. While my life in The Bronx, New York may have been ‘foreign’ to the experience of my teammate who was from a different part of the country, it was undoubtedly my race, and perhaps my name that caused him, reflexively, to refer to me as something other than a teammate,” Adegbile added, before describing the friendship that they went on to develop.

“We would later travel to his hometown during a school vacation. Years later, at his request, I vouched for his character when he sought admission to his state’s bar,” Adegbile wrote. “This story is a window into a larger American challenge and the difficulties we encounter when we fail to develop tools for productive cross-racial interactions. In the absence of opportunities to understand people based upon experiences, we run the risk of reducing them to stereotypical assumptions about their most obvious feature, which is often their race… America is better and stronger when the pathways to educational opportunity are visibly open to everyone. We cannot and should not waiver from this important path to educational opportunity — as the Supreme Court has previously explained, nothing less than the future of the nation depends upon it.”

A message left for Adegbile at the Senate Judiciary Committee was not returned over the weekend.

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Offline andy58-in-nh

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Re: Obama's DOJ nominee represented cop killer Mumia Abu Jamal.
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2013, 08:50:07 AM »
This Administration is a nightmare that will not end.
Liberalism isn't really about making the world a better place. It's about reassuring the elites that they are good people for wanting to rule over it.

Offline flowers

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Re: Obama's DOJ nominee represented cop killer Mumia Abu Jamal.
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2013, 11:19:55 AM »
I think we might never be able to cleanse this government of the evil obama is doing to it.

Offline musiclady

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Re: Obama's DOJ nominee represented cop killer Mumia Abu Jamal.
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2013, 02:28:30 PM »
I think we might never be able to cleanse this government of the evil obama is doing to it.

Not in our lifetimes, at least.

The disease now goes too deep.
Character still matters.  It always matters.

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Offline mountaineer

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Re: Obama's DOJ nominee represented cop killer Mumia Abu Jamal.
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2013, 03:13:49 PM »
Did some googling and found this on an  outdoorsmen's forum:
...  Debo Adegbile, director of litigation for the NAACP and an anti gun zealot who wrote an amicus brief in Heller arguing that there is no private right to bear arms. Nigerian/Irish mulatto, so Obama probably has a special soft spot for this guy. ...

A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.

Offline mountaineer

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Re: Obama's DOJ nominee represented cop killer Mumia Abu Jamal.
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2013, 03:18:55 PM »
An interview with his law school's alumni magazine:

Debo Adegbile ’94 is in no danger of getting into a career rut. As litigation director at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), Mr. Adegbile is involved in just about everything that happens at the organization’s New York City headquarters: He might spend a morning pondering the legal issues in a weighty civil rights case, followed by an afternoon vetting résumés for fellowship candidates. The work provides a healthy balance of day-to-day and long-range work, he says. More important, it gives Mr. Adegbile a platform from which he can help shape his generation’s civil rights laws, just as his heroes—including LDF founder and former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall—did for their generations.

Mr. Adegbile lives in Chelsea with his wife, Susan Haskell, an assistant commissioner at the New York Department of Youth and Community Development, and their two daughters, Sela, age ten, and Devan, age seven. We spoke with Mr. Adegbile about his experience addressing the nine Supreme Court justices, the importance of equitable voting laws—and how his childhood work on Sesame Street helped him land a job as a new lawyer. The following is an edited transcript.

Q: Last year you argued your first case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. Tell me about that case.

A: It was the constitutional defense of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The VRA has many provisions, but one of the central provisions is Section 5, which requires all or part of 16 states that have histories of serious voting discrimination to have proposed voting changes reviewed by either the U.S. Department of Justice or a federal court in Washington before they can legally take effect. The goal is to ensure that the voting changes don’t worsen the position of minority voters, which has long been the pattern in many of these jurisdictions. So Section 5 is a prophylactic measure that stops discrimination before it takes root, and for that reason it is very effective.

Q: What was it like to argue—and ultimately win—a case in front of the Supreme Court?

A: The experience was terrifying, exhilarating, and humbling all at once. It was my first time in front of the Supreme Court, and the case was rather complex. And the outcome mattered a great deal: The Voting Rights Act isn’t just any law. The stakes were very high.

Q: You also were involved in voting rights cases with the LDF during the 2000 presidential election and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. What draws you to these kinds of cases?

A. Voting rights fascinated me when I studied the topic in my constitutional law class with Professor Christopher L. Eisgruber. Leaders like Martin Luther King and Thurgood Marshall knew that individuals’ ability to express their political voices was essential to take down the racial caste system of Jim Crow. So many of the civil rights leaders understood that having a vote—having an ability to pick leaders and to have a full measure of citizenship—was essential to ensuring equality, not just in the moment but in the future. That lesson was not lost on me.

Q: How did you develop an interest and expertise in voting rights law?

When I studied at NYU, I had a chance to take a couple of wonderful classes on race and the law in the United States and South Africa with the late, great A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr., and later I practiced with him at the Paul, Weiss law firm. He was the former Chief Judge of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. He spent his career working as a civil rights lawyer and a federal judge, and was a passionate and unyielding voice for equality in the United States. He was very involved in a number of voting cases and was very passionate in defending the voting rights of African Americans, especially in the twilight of his career. I got to work with him as a summer associate and then as an associate at Paul, Weiss, and through that experience I participated in my first case with the LDF. So that experience set me on a path of not only caring deeply about these issues, but having an opportunity to become involved in the continuing struggle for equality.

Q: How did your time at NYU Law shape your perspective on the law?

A: I’d say that NYU Law was critical in a number of ways. First, the student body was as important an aspect of my law school experience as the law faculty. The conversations we had after class and in social settings about the law and our varied experiences, and backgrounds really helped me test my ideas and open my mind to different perspectives. That experience dramatically enhanced my understanding of the law.

Additionally, I’ve always enjoyed thinking about doctrine and theory. But I can’t stay only in that space. I always have to think about the practical applications. I selected NYU Law in large part because of its clinical programs. I participated in a civil rights law clinic with Professors Claudia Angelos and Laura Sager, and we had the opportunity to begin thinking like civil rights lawyers.

Q: How so?

A: There’s a lot of injustice in the world, but it’s a challenge to move from perceiving or hearing about an injustice to finding an articulable claim that can actually provide relief to a plaintiff. Not every wrong finds a remedy in the law, as it turns out. It takes a good bit of creative lawyering and tenacity on the part of litigators to formulate a winning theory, even where the claims merit it.

Q: Your career has an interesting side note—you spent some time on the cast of Sesame Street as a child, right?

A: I auditioned for Sesame Street during the first or second season the show was on the air. A big "cattle call" went out in New York City because they were looking for more kids. Off to the audition I went, and I guess I made it through without wrecking the set or acting too unruly. I filmed episodes for nine years.

At NYU, I distinctly remember taking a workshop from placement services early in my time at NYU. Their advice was to take anything you’ve done that’s interesting or different and put it on your résumé, because law firms get a lot of résumés and after a while they all start to look alike. On the strength of that advice, I put Sesame Street on my résumé. And true to form, in almost every interview, it was a substantial part of the focus. I guess that talking about the show was a lot more interesting than my views on the law or my command of legal topics – I suspect that is still the case. So in some way, I owe my career success to attending that workshop and heeding that advice.
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