The U.S. Senate narrowly defeated President Obama's nominee to oversee the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division due to Republican and law enforcement objections to the role he played in the defense of convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.Of course, supporters say the predictable things:
Only 47 senators, all Democrats, voted to advance Debo Adegbile's nomination while 52 senators voted to block him, including 7 Democrats. Vice President Biden presided over the vote in the event he could break a tie, which was unnecessary after Democrats failed to muster enough support.
Democrats, lawyers groups and civil rights activists hailed Adegbile as one of the nation's leading civil rights attorneys with impeccable credentials honed over two decades in the profession. He has worked as an aide in the U.S. Senate as well as the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and has argued two civil rights cases on voting rights before the Supreme Court.
"There is no question about his competence," said Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Ill., prior to the vote.
Senator Durbin is actually the Majority Whip, but that's a nice thought. Maybe next year. [Update: The article has been corrected.] Did Senator Durbin say that competence is all that matters when Justice Alito was nominated? I don't think so. As always in Washington, "where you stand depends on where you sit."
See also yesterday's post, containing links to numerous earlier posts on this matter.