[Ed. – Adegbile also rallied for Abu-Jamal, which is beyond mere representation.]
Lawyers hoping for a political appointment in the future, take note: the U.S. Senate is now judging attorneys based on their representation of politically unpopular clients.
In a move sure to rattle the legal community, a majority of senators voted Wednesday to block the confirmation of a respected civil rights lawyer to a top Justice Department spot because he helped get a convicted murderer off death row.
All Republicans and a handful of Democrats voted to sink Debo Adegbile’s nomination to lead the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. The overriding reason for their opposition was that he once represented Mumia Abu-Jamal, a death row inmate convicted 30 years ago of killing a Philadelphia police officer.
Adegbile did not make the decision to take on the case. When he became the head of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund in 2012, the group was already representing Abu-Jamal, and Adegbile continued to do so on a narrow constitutional issue. In other words, he was just doing his job by advocating for his client.