Politics

Obama Press Conference Distracts From What He Just Did With The Civil Rights Commission

The day before President Obama’s last press conference of the year, the White House quietly announced his presidential appointments of Dego Adegbile and Catherine Lhamon to six-year terms on the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. Both appointments are aggressive moves for a president on his way out the door.

Obama previously nominated Adegbile to head the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, but a bipartisan group of senators blocked the nomination in 2014 due to Adegbile’s defense of convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Adegbile’s appointment, which will not require congressional approval, left pro-police groups crying foul.

John McNesby, president of the Philadelphia chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, called the appointment a “kick in the teeth to the cops.” Sam Cabral, president of the International Union of Police Associations, called the appointment a “slap in the face to every law enforcement officer in this great nation” in a statement released Friday.

A supporter of black political activist Mumia Abu Jamal holds a sign during a demonstration at the Federal courthouse in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, November 9, 2010. A federal appeals court entertained arguments from Abu Jamal concerning the sentencing phase of his trial for the 1981 murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. Abu-Jamal, a former member of the Black Panthers militant group, was convicted and sentenced to death in 1982 for murdering Faulkner in an early morning confrontation on December 9, 1981. REUTERS/Tim Shaffer

A supporter of black political activist Mumia Abu Jamal holds a sign during a demonstration at the Federal courthouse in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, November 9, 2010. A federal appeals court entertained arguments from Abu Jamal concerning the sentencing phase of his trial for the 1981 murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. Abu-Jamal, a former member of the Black Panthers militant group, was convicted and sentenced to death in 1982 for murdering Faulkner in an early morning confrontation on December 9, 1981. REUTERS/Tim Shaffer

Republican Senator from Pennsylvania Pat Toomey issued a sharply-worded statement calling on Obama to withdraw the appointment.

“Mr. Adegbile did not simply defend a client. He supervised an effort to lionize unrepentant cop-killer Mumia Abu Jamal, who cold-bloodedly murdered Philadelphia police officer Danny Faulkner 35 years ago,” Toomey’s statement read. “Mr. Adegbile supervised the effort to spread misinformation about the trial and evidence, fabricate claims of racism, malign Philly police, and organize rallies across the globe that portrayed this brutal cop-killer as the victim.”

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“A Democrat-led U.S. Senate evaluated the facts and agreed that Debo Adegbile is not fit to represent the American people as an enforcer of civil rights. This judgment included the votes of seven Democrats. I call on President Obama to adhere to the bipartisan judgment of the U.S. Senate and withdraw his appointment of Debo Adegbile to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights,” the statement continued.

Catherine Lhamon orchestrated the Obama administration’s overhaul of Title IX, co-authored the “Dear Colleague” letter mandating transgender bathroom use in public schools, and also played a key role in the now-infamous Rolling Stone hoax. Her appointment is a similarly aggressive appointment for a president with just over a month left in office. (RELATED: Obama Appointee To Activists: White House ‘Aggressively Engaged’ In Transgender Fight)

Roger Clegg, president of the Center for Equal Opportunity, argued in a column for National Review that “the long tradition has been for outgoing presidents to leave to incoming presidents the appointments to vacancies occurring this late in the term.”

The George Soros-funded Center for American Progress praised the appointments in a statement saying the two appointees’ “experience and passion will be crucial in meeting the fights that await the country as we continue to work on improving the lives of all Americans and protecting the Obama administration’s civil rights victories of the past eight years.”

The two appointments were left largely passed over by the media, thanks in part to Obama’s press conference Friday which dominated the news cycle heading into the weekend. Obama’s press conference included zero mentions of either Lhamon or Adegbile. As of this article, neither the Washington Post nor CNN online coverage has covered the appointments.

Follow Hasson on Twitter @PeterJHasson