Politics & Policy

Debo Adegbile: Exit Stage Left

A clutch of Senate Democrats joined Republicans in defeating the nomination of Debo Adegbile to the position of assistant attorney general for civil rights, the Justice Department’s lead man on matters racial. The president fumed that the Senate had denied the nation the services of a gifted public servant, but what the Senate has done is deny Barack Obama the chance to install yet another pet radical in the commanding heights of government.

Good riddance to Mr. Adegbile.

#ad#The centerpiece of the case against Mr. Adegbile’s nomination was his advocacy in the cause of Mumia Abu-Jamal, Philadelphia radical of 1970s vintage who spent years advocating the murder of police officers before getting around to pulling the trigger himself, gunning down Daniel Faulkner in front of multiple witnesses and then boasting about it when he was taken to the hospital for treatment of injuries he sustained during the course of his arrest. The murderer’s braggadocio evaporated in the face of a capital conviction, which he duly received, though the state never got around to executing his sentence and eventually gave up trying to do so. And so Mr. Abu-Jamal lives on, enjoying the rewards of radical chic and using such legal maneuverings as he can manage to conduct an ongoing circus in the service of his poisonous racist politics.

As Senator Pat Toomey argued, the objection to Mr. Adegbile’s nomination was not his participation in Mr. Abu-Jamal’s criminal defense but his participation in Mr. Abu-Jamal’s circus, the propaganda campaign waged by the murderer and the fashionable radicals congealed around his cause to undermine American legal institutions on racial grounds — Mr. Abu-Jamal had after all been tried during the reign of that notorious reactionary Ed Rendell, then the elected district attorney of Philadelphia. Senator Toomey is here correct: A defendant is entitled to a legal advocate, but not to a political advocate. As head of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Mr. Adegbile never had any hope of changing the outcome of Mr. Abu-Jamal’s long-settled case — the murder was in 1981, he became involved in 2009 — and it has been decades since any but the willfully blind have, on examining the evidence, entertained any doubt that Mr. Abu-Jamal is a calculating murderer. But there is nothing quite like a celebrity homicide artist to add a dash of daring to quotidian politicking and the annual fundraising appeal. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund is only one of many organizations that have dipped into the bottomless well of stupidity associated with the cause of Mr. Abu-Jamal.

Mr. Adegbile’s other endeavors include arguing for the explicit use of racial criteria in college admissions and unsuccessfully campaigning to use civil-rights law to maintain endless federal oversight of elections in certain states, also on racial grounds.

Mr. Adegbile is, in short, the last thing an already politicized Justice Department needs: a professional practitioner of racial politics antipathetic to law enforcement and inclined to see — or at least pretend to see, when convenient — the shadowy hand of racial conspiracy behind every skinned knee. Republicans were right to object to his nomination, and seven of the eight Democrats who voted against him deserve credit for standing against the president’s habitual radicalism in personnel matters. (The eighth Democratic no vote was from Harry Reid, a procedural maneuver that allows him to reintroduce the nomination if he desires.) The president was positively in a lather over the matter, denouncing “a travesty based on wildly unfair character attacks.” Judgment is a critical component of character, and Mr. Adegbile’s is defective. The inescapable conclusion of this episode is that President Obama’s judgment is defective as well, or else no one outside legal circles would know the name Debo Adegbile.

The Editors comprise the senior editorial staff of the National Review magazine and website.

Most Popular

Culture

Two NFL Apologies

So Drew Brees defended the American flag and all it stands for, said he didn’t agree with kneeling for the national anthem and correctly described this gesture of open disrespect as disrespect. "Is everything right with our country right now?" said the Saints' future Hall of Famer. "No, it is not. We still have ... Read More
Culture

Two NFL Apologies

So Drew Brees defended the American flag and all it stands for, said he didn’t agree with kneeling for the national anthem and correctly described this gesture of open disrespect as disrespect. "Is everything right with our country right now?" said the Saints' future Hall of Famer. "No, it is not. We still have ... Read More
Education

Destroy the ‘Public’ Education System

‘Public” schools have been a catastrophe for the United States. This certainly isn’t an original assertion, but as we watch thousands of authoritarian brats tearing down the legacies of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, it’s more apparent than ever. State-run schools have undercut two fundamental ... Read More
Education

Destroy the ‘Public’ Education System

‘Public” schools have been a catastrophe for the United States. This certainly isn’t an original assertion, but as we watch thousands of authoritarian brats tearing down the legacies of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, it’s more apparent than ever. State-run schools have undercut two fundamental ... Read More
Media

The Unrelenting Assault on President Trump

There has never been a presidential campaign in the United States where the administration was so massively opposed by the principal media outlets as in this election. Nor, in at least a century, have the national political media so widely and thoroughly discarded the traditional criterion for journalistic ... Read More
Media

The Unrelenting Assault on President Trump

There has never been a presidential campaign in the United States where the administration was so massively opposed by the principal media outlets as in this election. Nor, in at least a century, have the national political media so widely and thoroughly discarded the traditional criterion for journalistic ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Chesterton’s Cops

Conservatives are big on “Chesterton’s fence.” That’s G. K. Chesterton’s principle that you cannot reform what you do not understand, that you should not for the sake of convenience knock down a fence until you understand why it was put up in the first place. When encountering a fence in his way, ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Chesterton’s Cops

Conservatives are big on “Chesterton’s fence.” That’s G. K. Chesterton’s principle that you cannot reform what you do not understand, that you should not for the sake of convenience knock down a fence until you understand why it was put up in the first place. When encountering a fence in his way, ... Read More
Culture

Why Progressives Wage War on History

Princeton University’s decision to remove the name “Woodrow Wilson” from its School of Public and International Affairs is a big win for progressive activists, and the implications will extend far beyond the campus. It hardly surprises me, in today’s polarizing environment, that my alma mater caved to ... Read More
Culture

Why Progressives Wage War on History

Princeton University’s decision to remove the name “Woodrow Wilson” from its School of Public and International Affairs is a big win for progressive activists, and the implications will extend far beyond the campus. It hardly surprises me, in today’s polarizing environment, that my alma mater caved to ... Read More

Canceled, &c.

There was a headline last week: “Boeing Communications Chief Resigns Over Decades-Old Article on Women in Combat.” Find the story here. It explains that “Niel Golightly abruptly resigned on Thursday, following an employee’s complaint over an article the former U.S. military pilot wrote 33 years ago ... Read More

Canceled, &c.

There was a headline last week: “Boeing Communications Chief Resigns Over Decades-Old Article on Women in Combat.” Find the story here. It explains that “Niel Golightly abruptly resigned on Thursday, following an employee’s complaint over an article the former U.S. military pilot wrote 33 years ago ... Read More
Media

The Media’s War on Words

I recently ran across a piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer that lays out four racist words and phrases that should be banished from the English language. It begins like this: Editor’s note: Please be aware offensive terms are repeated here solely for the purpose of identifying and analyzing them honestly. ... Read More
Media

The Media’s War on Words

I recently ran across a piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer that lays out four racist words and phrases that should be banished from the English language. It begins like this: Editor’s note: Please be aware offensive terms are repeated here solely for the purpose of identifying and analyzing them honestly. ... Read More