Republican Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick slammed the “disturbing” and “robotic” party-line vote that sent President Obama’s disputed nominee to head the Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division on to the next round of consideration.
Obama nominee Debo Adegbile cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee with a 10-8 vote last Thursday and will now face the full Democratic-controlled Senate, where he will need 51 votes for confirmation.
The Daily Caller reported Dec. 29 that Adegbile represented Philadelphia cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal during his tenure as acting president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) in 2012. The following year Adegbile left LDF, which still serves as Abu-Jamal’s legal counsel.
“It was a straight party-line vote. The members of the Democrat side of the aisle just put their head down as if they were robotic — without emotion, conversation or discussion — they just voted 10-8 to pass this on,” Rep. Fitzpatrick said on 1210 WPHT in Philadelphia.
“This is a no-brainer. For the police department in the city of Philadelphia, this is as clear as it gets. Are you with us or against us? It is beyond disturbing,” Fitzpatrick said.
Fitzpatrick said he did not know how Pennsylvania Democratic Sen. Bob Casey will vote on Adegbile’s confirmation.
“I’ve spoken to [Faulkner's widow] Maureen several times. I know that she has reached out to Casey’s office, and I know that he has been very kind and spoken to her. But I don’t believe he has indicated to her how he would vote,” Fitzpatrick said.
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 deceased LDF president John Payton, whom Adegbile immediately succeeded.
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.”
Adegbile has been staunchly supported in the liberal media by outlets including Media Matters for America and MSNBC.com.
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.