FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 6, 2014
Contact E.R. Anderson (202) 224-8609
SENATOR TOOMEY TO COLLEAGUES: GRAVE CONCERNS ABOUT CIVIL RIGHTS NOMINEE
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) today sent a letter to his colleagues expressing his grave concerns over the nomination of Debo Adegbile to serve as Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Mr. Adegbile was chosen by President Obama and the Senate Judiciary Committee is slated to vote on the nomination today.
The text of the letter is below.
February 6, 2014
Recently, President Obama nominated Mr. Debo Adegbile to serve as Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. I have grave concerns over this nomination, based on Mr. Adegbile’s decision to represent Mumia Abu-Jamal.
On December 9, 1981, Mumia Abu-Jamal murdered 25-year old Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. Abu-Jamal’s guilt has never been in doubt. Four eyewitnesses saw Abu-Jamal rush across the street to where Daniel Faulkner was, shoot Officer Faulkner once in the back, and then shoot Officer Faulkner several more times in the body and face. Three other witnesses attested that they heard Abu-Jamal boast that he had shot Daniel Faulkner. It was no surprise when a Pennsylvania jury convicted Abu-Jamal and sentenced him to death.
Unfortunately, some were not content to let Daniel Faulkner’s young widow to grieve in peace. In 2009, twenty-seven years after Daniel Faulkner’s death, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund ("LDF"), decided to join the case—first as an amicus and then as co-counsel for Abu-Jamal. This was not a case of every defendant deserving a lawyer: Abu-Jamal already had multiple, high-priced lawyers volunteering their time and filing dozens of petitions and appeals over two and a half decades.
Under Mr. Adegbile’s oversight, LDF lawyers spread misinformation, promoted division among the American people, and blocked justice for the family of Officer Daniel Faulkner. The lawyers Mr. Adegbile supervised promoted the myth that Abu-Jamal was a heroic, political prisoner who was framed because of his race, instead of the cowardly, unrepentant killer that he is. Recently, Mr. Adegbile has attempted to downplay his role in the Mumia Abu-Jamal case. Mr. Adegbile knows better. As Mr. Adegbile told the Senate Judiciary Committee, he "supervised the entire legal staff" of 18 lawyers at LDF, and, in the words of LDF’s website, he was responsible for their advocacy "both in the courts of law and in the court of public opinion."
The Justice Department’s website explains, the Civil Rights Division "fulfills a critical mission in upholding the civil and constitutional rights of all individuals." This requires the head of the Civil Rights Division to have an absolute commitment to truth and justice. There are many highly qualified Americans who can carry out this critical mission. Mr. Adegbile’s record creates serious doubts that he is one of them. For these reasons, I ask you to oppose the nomination of Mr. Debo Adegbile to serve as Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
Acting State Director
U.S. Senator Pat Toomey
100 Station Square Drive, Suite 225
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Sign up here to receive Senator Toomey’s newsletter.