Senate Majority Uses Abu-Jamal to 'Tar' Obama Nominee
Members of the U.S. Senate, who now of late are blasting Russia for violating "the rule of law' in the Ukraine, trashed that same fundamental legal precept during a vote to reject the man President Obama recently nominated to head the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department.
Senate Republicans, with the support of a handful of Democrats, including Pennsylvania's two Senators, rejected the nomination of Debo Adegbile, followed a venomous, falsehood-filled campaign against him launched by the National Fraternal Order of Police and exploited by conservative opponents of Obama (see the article below by my colleague Dave Lindorff).
The flashpoint Adegbile opponents used to frame their opposition to him was this highly qualified lawyer's indirect and very remote involvement in appeals filed on behalf of Mumia Abu-Jamal, the Philadelphia journalist who was convicted for the 1981 slaying of a Philadelphia policeman. Abu-Jamal's contentious conviction has been condemned by entities as diverse as Nelson Mandela,, the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus and Amnesty International, a widely admired legal organization that produced a lengthy analysis back in 2000 declaring his trial and appeals process "deeply flawed" and saying it "clearly failed to meet the minimum international standards safeguarding the fairness of legal proceedings."
Adegbile worked for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, an organization that officially entered the Abu-Jamal case in January 2011, more than nine years after a federal district declared Abu-Jamal's controversial death sentence unconstitutional. That federal court action, upheld by a federal appeals court panel and ultimately by the U.S. Supreme Court, led to Abu-Jamal's sentence being automatically converted to life in prison much, to the chagrin of police unions in Philadelphia and beyond, who had for years been campaigning for the former Black Panther Party member's execution. Adegbile, a voting rights law expert for the LDF, was not the lead (or even backup) LDF lawyer on the Abu-Jamal case.