Was Obama Wrong to Nominate Mumia Lawyer Debo Adegbile to DOJ?

A lot of people are unhappy about this.

Debo Adegbile

President Barack Obama has nominated former Mumia Abu-Jamal lawyer Debo Adegbile to head the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice, and a lot of people are not OK with that.

Earlier this week, the Fraternal Order of Police sent a letter to President Obama, blasting him for the nomination. Here’s part of what FOP National President Chuck Canterbury had to say:

As word of this nomination spreads through the law enforcement community, reactions range from anger to incredulity. Under this nominee’s leadership, the Legal Defense Fund (LDF) of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People volunteered their services to represent Wesley Cook, better known to the world as Mumia Abu-Jamal–our country’s most notorious cop-killer.

There is no disputing that Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner was murdered by this thug. His just sentence–death–was undone by your nominee and others like him who turned the justice system on its head with unfounded and unproven allegations of racism.

Of course, lawyers represent bad people all the time, right? Canterbury addresses that point as well:

We are aware of the tried and true shield behind which activists of Adegbile’s ilk are wont to hide–that everyone is entitled to a defense; but surely you would agree that a defense should not be based on falsely disparaging and savaging the good name and reputation of a lifeless police officer.

Certainly any legal scholar can see the injustice and absence of ethics in this cynical race-baiting approach to our legal system.

Meanwhile, Maureen Faulkner, the widow of the police officer whom Abu-Jamal was convicted of gunning down, went on Fox News to express her disgust at the nomination:


In Adegbile’s corner, there are 75 organizations that have signed on to a letter to the United States Senate, urging the senators to confirm the nomination. Those organizations include everyone from the AFL-CIO to the National Center for Transgender Equality to the National Bar Association. Here’s an excerpt:

Mr. Adegbile is exceptionally qualified to lead the Civil Rights Division at this time in history. As the nation’s chief law enforcement officer on civil rights issues, he would bring a depth and breadth of understanding of federal civil rights laws, and their enforcement and application.

He has litigated cases across civil rights subject areas, from voting rights to fair housing to employment discrimination to equal educational opportunity. He has practiced law at all levels, from the trial court to the Supreme Court, and has appeared in courts throughout the country.

The letter does not specifically address Adegbile’s involvement in the Abu-Jamal case or the FOP’s opposition to his appointment.

But what do you think?

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[Photo: AP]