Voters lose as Senate rejects Obama’s civil rights nominee

Debo Adegbile, by all accounts a whip-smart lawyer and legal scholar of impeccable integrity, lost his bid on Wednesday for Senate confirmation to serve as head of the civil rights division of the Justice Department.

The 45-52 vote was cast in news accounts as an embarrassing defeat for President Obama, who saw seven Democratic senators join with the Republican minority to block Adegbile’s confirmation.

The real losers may turn out to be American voters however. With state legislators in much of the country pondering new restrictions on voting rights as we head for a fiercely contested congressional election, the DOJ desperately needs strong leadership in its civil rights shop. Lawyers there should be a critical first line of defense against the wave of voter ID laws that would make it more difficult for tens of thousands of college students, the elderly and infirm, to cast their ballots.

In the right hands, the civil rights division also could provide the administration with a splendid platform to make its case for action in Congress to overhaul the Voting Rights Act and undo damage done by last summer’s Supreme Court ruling weakening that law’s “pre-clearance provisions.

Given the glacial pace of affairs on Capitol Hill these days, it likely will take weeks and perhaps months for the administration to find and screen a new nominee. The Senate probably will need even more time for committee hearings and votes on whoever Obama selects. Bottom line: the new top cop for enforcing our civil rights laws is unlikely to be on the beat soon enough to protect voters before Election Day.

All that’s bad enough. But there’s another unsettling dimension to this story. Critics of Adegbile’s nomination did not challenge his legal or ethical qualifications. Their stated objections revolved around the small part he played 30-plus years ago in the legal defense of a man ultimately convicted of murdering a Philadelphia police officer.

To go after a lawyer on such grounds is to attack a principle at the heart of our legal system: that every person charged with a crime — no matter how heinous – is entitled to vigorous representation.

No less a legal icon than Chief Justice John Roberts, a law-and-order conservative if I’ve ever seen one, has stood up for that principle. Before going on the bench, Roberts was involved in the defense of a Florida man now on death row for murdering eight people. No one suggested that made him unfit to serve.

Now, with Adegbile, a different standard of review may be taking hold, with ominous implications for American justice. If we start disqualifying from government service every lawyer who has represented a guilty client or stood up in court for an unpopular cause, the quality of candidates in the talent pool won’t just suffer, it will disappear.

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2 Responses to “Voters lose as Senate rejects Obama’s civil rights nominee”

  1. The hypocrisy of conservatives is always on display, yet millions of Americans have allowed the worlds biggest propaganda machine to shape their tiny, highly suggestible minds. They are just as much a traitor to this country as the ones starting the lies.

  2. George Thompson, Sr. March 6, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    African-featured males Can’t be accepted (nor ever be perceived as equals) in the grotesque scheme called: “The American Dream.” One, as such, is despised not just in the eyes—but in the collective mind—that contrives and incessantly rehearses notions of its own conjured fear and hate—even as entertainment—as a metaphor of necessitating safety from those who are featured least like (and especially who reject subjugation to schemes of) Caucasians who perceive such features, mannerisms or ideations—not as evidence of humanity—but only as hostility and as a licence to subjugate everyone who embodies them to conform, be ostracized, or killed as a means for Caucasians to survive.

    This critique addresses only the collective discretely; whereas cultures are replete with anecdotes of exception. The culture’s systemic mindset however perpetuates a fostered, permutated and mass-marketed myth of “White Supremacy,” as should be obvious viz.:

    e.g.: current unemployment amongst this cohort between ages 18 and 38 years is typically double that of Caucasians (i.e. when cognitive and physical capacities are prime for humans); voting districts are historically and currently racially gerrymandered so as to repress non-white populations from influencing socioeconomic bias—depriving them access to the polls, municipal services, e.g. budget preferences for public libraries, and state funded educational enrichment to prepare their children to perform competitively for economic advancement. Viz.:

    http://new.livestream.com/accounts/5188266/events/2796385?origin=Event+Broadcast&mixpanel_id=f7506325253b8-0d8004293-43681f0a-2ee000-f7506325267be&acc_id=7130200&medium=email

    America’s legal systems historically and currently incarcerate or execute non-white cohorts (especially African-featured males) at chronically disproportionately higher rates for similar offences as Caucasians (whilst Caucasians are, conversely, given probation or referred to rehabilitation are thus similarly biased (e.g., with specious diagnoses, viz. “affluenza”, vide:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/12/affluenza-defense-probation-for-deadly-dwi_n_4430807.html).

    Similarly, non-Caucasians are accosted at disproportionately higher rates under “stop and frisk policing” than others and guaranteed 95% bed occupancy contracts at for-profit prisons are disproportionately populated by African-featured prisoners (who are typically afflicted with inadequate counsel), and said quotas are never defaulted; whilst profit centers for illicit narcotics are amongst Caucasian cohorts.

    These exemplars are not exhaustive, yet a common ploy of “Conservative” 10th and 2nd Amendment zealots who proclaim viz. : the United States of America is “Post-Racial,” whilst only naïfs seriously believe that adjudication under “Stand Your Ground” provisions are legislated or scrutinized in a race-neutral context.

    I am confident that if African-featured teenagers began carrying firearms and mortally or grievously wounding any bellicose Caucasian who menacingly approaches them (based on current leniency attributed when African-featured males have been murdered with impunity under notoriously specious pretexts) that provisions under said law would be promptly and severely revised against such preemptive action.

    The foregoing are adequate (whilst certainly not exhaustive) warrant to support the premise that African-featured males in America are marked for evolutionary extinction based on the principle of selective resistance, viz.: only members of a species who survive, and successfully compete to gain sufficient resources for self-sufficiency (i.e. financial and intellectual autonomy in the human context), will be selected to sexually REPRODUCE with suitable women and foster competent descendants. Throughout American history the scourge of involuntary servitude (i.e. thru slavery, pernicious substance addiction, behavioral debauchery, “delayed gratification,” e.g., in pursuit of educational or occupational success, or thru incarceration) has culled these most suitable exemplars so as to undermine their opportunities to successfully reproduce and foster their sons and daughters so as to mentor them as wholesome role models and mentors of familial self-sufficiency and cohesion—and as important members of thriving communities of families.

    Is that the ultimate vision, e.g., of the “Stand Your Ground” Law/ “Manifest Destiny”/ “American Dream?”— to become Adolph Hitler’s “Final Solution” (wherein “The Only Good Indian (or non-Caucasian) Is A Dead Indian (or non-Caucasian)?!” ©Copyright, George Thompson, Sr., 2014