Depo P Adegbile is rejected by senate.

So, I’ve been hearing a lot about this story and I would like to talk about it.

I am surprised and saddened by this defeat. I think it’s pretty disgusting actually, but perhaps there are things I’m not taking into consideration.

He is being punished for doing his job as an attorney. That’s what it looks like to me.

Please give me your thoughts on this.

Realpolitik trumps fairness:

It seems like he’s being rejected because people who get voted into their current jobs are worried they’ll lose votes–and therefore their jobs–if they don’t reject him for this position.

I’m pretty sure that’s how democracy works. Sometimes it works fairly but when push comes to shove, you gotta persuade the masses they are off base. That’s probably not gonna happen in this case. It appears Mr Adegbile has managed to permanently alienate too many groups with long memories.

He wasn’t acting as Abu-Jamal’s attorney. He and his organisation were acting on their own initiative to claim that despite Abu-Jamal being found at the scene wearing a shoulder holster, next to the gun he owned, which had recently fired bullets matching those that killed the police officer, the reason he was convicted was because of racism.

Anyone who thinks Mumia is innocent has shown that his judgment is too poor to be in government. And if you try to cover that up by screaming “racism” your character is too poor as well.


You know who else defended cold-blooded murderers?

John Adams, who went on to be head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Or President, I forget which.

That’s nice. Mumia is still guilty, and anyone who defends him without being paid for it and by playing the race card does not belong anywhere near the Civil Rights division.


The Adegbile situation with Mumia isn’t really the same as the John Adams case with the Boston Massacre soldiers. In that case they were on trial for their lives in an initial criminal proceeding and Adams did not think they could get easily get a fair trial in Boston but felt he could work to save their lives and insure they received said fair trial in part because of his skill as a lawyer and in part probably because of his influence and political power in Massachusetts.

I think it would be hard to criticize any lawyer for choosing to represent a defendant at trial, everyone is supposed to be entitled to a defense.

Now, is it reasonable to criticize filing motions on Adegbile’s behalf in the 2000s, many years after his conviction? From what I can tell the NAACP LDF had been working with Mumia for years before Adegbile was hired and he was just continuing on with prior work that already was being worked before he was hired. It’s not really appropriate as an attorney to drop a client midway through something, which would be what Adegbile would have been doing had he decided to rescind NAACP LDF’s agreement to work on Mumia’s behalf. Anyway, part of the NAACP LDF argument ultimately prevailed in getting Mumia’s death sentence vacated (although that happened, I believe, prior to Adegbile being involved in the matter.) At the point Adegbile became involved they were fighting against Pennsylvania’s appeal of the death sentence being vacated and they were also making three technical legal arguments about Mumia not receiving a fair trial. In that matter Adegbile prevailed in that the Circuit Court affirmed the District Court had appropriately set aside the death penalty, but they failed in their three technical legal claims as they were not found to have merit.

What that tells me is that Mumia was probably sentenced to death with improper jury instructions (and thus it is a good thing he was resentenced), and it also tells me there isn’t compelling evidence his actual conviction was based on a racist jury, improper use of peremptory challenges or a racist judge as the NAACP LDF asserted. So yeah, Mumia is where he belongs, but the technical legal issues the NAACP LDF raised and Adegbile followed up with after he had been hired don’t seem to be “beyond the pale.” I can agree that an organization like the NAACP LDF that has limited resources should probably focus more on defendants that aren’t clearly guilty, but Adegbile did not make the decision to get involved in the Mumia case–and they did save him from an improper sentence of death which suggests there was some legitimate compelling reason to get involved in the case.

I don’t really see too much to criticise Adegbile for, it sounds like he was just involved in technical legal motions that were underway before he ever held the Director position or whatever he held at NAACP LDF. Whether or not the Senate should have rejected him is a different matter, the Constitution says that the Senate can advise on nominees and is required to give consent–it exercised its right not to do so. Important stakeholders were pushing to not approve this guy, and in a sense it was democracy in action. The Democrats love unions and you know the police unions were heavily pushing against Adegbile’s nomination, so I don’t feel a lot of sympathy for Obama or the pro-Adegbile side in this political argument.

Thank you, Martin Hyde, for that very thorough explanation.

And we and the Senators know a large number of the citizenry would not sit still for such an explanation, but would rather adopt the *“He defended Mumia? SCUM!!” *POV; or at best that while he may have had a right to be defended and to bring up appeals, anyone who would aid him at that in earnest is morally disqualified from office. In the end, though, it is perfectly legitimate for the Senate to reject a nomination that will bring forth heated controversy and create a distraction from the work that is to be done at the office involved.

OH MY GOD HE WASN’T PAID FOR IT??? THAT CHANGES EVERYTHING!!! Oh, wait a minute. It’s totally irrelevant.

There’s a reason that Adams was able to defend the Boston Massacre soldiers without adverse impact to his career. At that time, people understood that the accused were entitled to a fair trial and legal representation. These days, you’ve got people who have difficulty grasping that concept- all they want to do when they hear “cop killer” is string them up without a trial. Usually these are the same people who claim to love freedom. Rather hypocritical, if you ask me.

Is it your position that any lawyer who represents a convicted felon is ineligible for Federal service? Under what circumstances can defense attorneys serve in a position of public trust?

Is there a big book of these rules, or do they just turtle-head out when needed?

As someone who has occasionally represented unpopular clients, I don’t have a problem with this. Adegbile has every right to represent clients of his choice, but no one has a right to a political appointment. I think the Senate is acting within its prerogative in looking to Adegbile’s choice of clients and methods of representation to shed light on his politics and his views of the law – i.e., to look to his work history as an indicator of how he would perform in the job for which he was nominated. Presumably that was part of the President’s calculus in nominating him, after all.

Of course, they’re also free to disregard one particular representation in consideration of a larger picture, or to consider it a positive item for philosophical reasons. Presumably something like that was done by the Senate with regard to John Roberts, or the electors as to John Adams.

Flip it around: If a Republican president were to nominate the lawyer who headed Goodyear’s litigation of the Lilly Ledbetter case to head the Civil Rights Division, surely it would be legitimate to consider that representation in voting whether to confirm, wouldn’t it?

This is exactly what I was thinking. The guy is GUILTY and always was, no matter what his skin color.

Yup, exactly, it’s a political appointment. That means they are expressly not about the merits, if it was intended to be a merit position it’d be part of the civil service.

And with political decisions come political consequences. Just one more chance for the Republicans to give the back of their hand to black Americans.

Er… Why?

I suppose it’s possible to find defense attorneys who’ve never defended a guilty client but outside of reruns of L.A. Law I don’t think they exist.

Based on your logic virtually no criminal lawyer other than a prosecutor would be able eligible for the job.

Is that what you really believe?

Adegbile is getting off lightly compared to what I’d like done to an equivalent prosecutor. If you use dishonourable tactics to try to send an innocent man to jail, you should be in prison. Adegbile merely used dishonourable tactics to try to free an unrepentant murderer, but that still makes him unfit for any position of power.

The President should nominate Clarence Thomas. There’s a guy who was Peter Principled out of the position. :smiley:

I missed an important point, apparently. Please cite where he advocated that Jumal be released. As well, the “dishonorable tactics” are not explicitly pointed out.