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March 11, 2014 2

President’s Civil Rights Nominee Rejected For Defending Civil Rights

Last week, on March 5, a major­ity of Sen­a­tors voted to block the nom­i­na­tion of Debo Adeg­bile, Pres­i­dent Obama’s choice to be the next Assis­tant Attor­ney Gen­eral for Civil Rights – replac­ing Tom Perez, now Sec­re­tary of Labor. The vote to refuse to con­firm Adeg­bile was 47–52 (with Major­ity Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) cast­ing a “no” vote in order to pre­serve the pos­si­bil­ity of bring­ing the nom­i­na­tion to the floor again).debo-adegbile

Adegbile’s nom­i­na­tion had attracted con­sid­er­able sup­port – includ­ing the Amer­i­can Bar Asso­ci­a­tion and a num­ber of lead­ing con­ser­v­a­tive advo­cates who had been on the other side of legal argu­ments with Adeg­bile in the past. The Anti-Defamation League was among 86 national civil rights, reli­gious, and law enforce­ment orga­ni­za­tions that had endorsed his nom­i­na­tion in a let­ter to Sen­a­tors

Adeg­bile was not defeated because he was unqual­i­fied for the post. To the con­trary, Adeg­bile, a vot­ing rights expert who had argued two cases before the United States Supreme Court, is one of the pre-eminent civil rights lit­i­ga­tors of his gen­er­a­tion. He had served as Direc­tor of Lit­i­ga­tion and, later, as Act­ing Pres­i­dent and Director-Counsel of the sto­ried civil rights orga­ni­za­tion, the NAACP Legal Defense and Edu­ca­tion Fund (LDF). 

Instead, oppo­si­tion to Adeg­bile was focused, almost exclu­sively, on the fact that the LDF became coun­sel for Mumia Abu-Jamal dur­ing his tenure. Abu-Jamal was con­victed of killing Philadel­phia police offi­cer Daniel Faulkner in 1981. Far from “seek­ing to glo­rify an unre­pen­tant cop-killer,” as Sen­ate Minor­ity Leader Mitch McConnell wrongly asserted, LDF lawyers had not argued that Abu-Jamal was inno­cent or wrongly con­victed. They argued, in post-conviction appeal pro­ceed­ings, that his death sen­tence had been tainted by jury instruc­tions that were flawed and improper – an argu­ment that pre­vailed in the courts.  Adeg­bile was involved in the case tan­gen­tially, in a super­vi­sory capacity.

As the con­tro­versy over Adegbile’s LDF involve­ment in the Abu-Jamal appeal grew, the Pres­i­dent of the Amer­i­can Bar Asso­ci­a­tion felt it nec­es­sary to write to Sen­a­tors to remind them how the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem in Amer­ica is sup­posed to work: 

I was alarmed to learn that there is some oppo­si­tion to Mr. Adegbile’s nom­i­na­tion based solely on his efforts to pro­tect the fun­da­men­tal rights of an unpop­u­lar client while work­ing at the Legal Defense Fund. His work, like the work of ABA mem­bers who pro­vide thou­sands of hours of pro bono legal ser­vices every year, is con­sis­tent with the finest tra­di­tion of this country’s legal pro­fes­sion and should be com­mended, not condemned.

Fol­low­ing his defeat, many com­men­ta­tors have rightly labeled the Senate’s treat­ment of Adeg­bile unfair, con­trast­ing his involve­ment in rep­re­sent­ing a highly unpop­u­lar defen­dant with sim­i­lar legal rep­re­sen­ta­tion by for­mer Pres­i­dent John Adams and Chief Jus­tice John Roberts – who both, famously, rep­re­sented indi­vid­u­als charged with mur­der.  In 1770, John Adams rep­re­sented British sol­diers indicted for mur­der­ing five peo­ple in what would later be called the “Boston Mas­sacre” dur­ing British occu­pa­tion of the colonies. Six of the sol­diers on trial, includ­ing their com­mand­ing offi­cer, were acquit­ted of the charges, and two oth­ers were con­victed on manslaugh­ter.   And when he was in pri­vate prac­tice, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Jus­tice John Roberts rep­re­sented a Florida death-row inmate who, with two co-defendants, had been con­victed of killing eight peo­ple in 1978. 

The defeat of Debo Adegbile’s nom­i­na­tion sends a deeply dis­turb­ing mes­sage to lawyers who might now think twice before affil­i­at­ing with advo­cacy groups or serv­ing jus­tice by rep­re­sent­ing con­tro­ver­sial fig­ures or causes.

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December 6, 2013 28

In First Appearance After Heart Attack, Farrakhan Continues Anti-Semitism

Nation of Islam (NOI) leader Louis Farrakhan’s first pub­lic appear­ance after suf­fer­ing a heart attack fea­tured a num­ber of anti-Semitic claims about Jew­ish con­trol over the Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment, Black orga­ni­za­tions and other sectors.farrakhan-indiana-heart-attack

Dur­ing his Decem­ber 1 speech at the Indi­ana Con­ven­tion Cen­ter in Indi­anapo­lis, Far­rakhan revealed he was hos­pi­tal­ized approx­i­mately two months ago due to a heart attack. When Far­rakhan was unable to deliver his 2013 Holy Day of Atone­ment speech in Alabama in Octo­ber, the NOI orig­i­nally said he was hos­pi­tal­ized for “an infection.”

In his speech, Far­rakhan bluntly stated his the­ory about who con­trols the U.S. gov­ern­ment: “…we’re gonna bring you up to speed. The Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment is under con­trol of the Zion­ists.” Far­rakhan went on to claim that the Jew­ish com­mu­nity has power over the NOI and other Black orga­ni­za­tions. “It’s not that I’m against the Jew­ish peo­ple. That’s just false…They have such power and influ­ence that they made most of you believe that I’m against the Jew­ish people.”

He made sim­i­lar claims about the NAACP, stat­ing “You mem­bers of the NAACP, you want to put on a march to Wash­ing­ton but you don’t have no money, so who do you go to? You go to phil­an­thropists, many of them are Jew­ish.” He con­tin­ued, “They tell you who you can have speak­ing. And they told you don’t have Far­rakhan. And you couldn’t say a damn thing because it wasn’t your money it was theirs.”

Far­rakhan also described send­ing a copy of the NOI’s anti-Semitic book, The Secret Rela­tion­ship between Blacks and Jews, which alleges dis­pro­por­tion­ate Jew­ish involve­ment in the slave trade, to the “pres­i­dents of all the major Jew­ish orga­ni­za­tions” as well as some Jew­ish pub­lic offi­cials. This is not the first time Far­rakhan has done so. The let­ter stated that the pur­pose of send­ing the book was to appeal to Jews who are “sit­ting on top of the world in power with riches and influ­ence while the masses of my people…are in the worst con­di­tion of any mem­ber of the human fam­ily” to con­vince them to repair the “dam­age that has been done by your ances­tors to mine.”

The crowd applauded as Far­rakhan read the last line of the let­ter which claimed that if the Jews do not “make the wise and best choice,” that God “will bring you and your peo­ple to dis­grace and ruin and destroy your power and influ­ence here in Amer­ica and through­out the world.”

Also in the ser­mon, Far­rakhan com­pared the Jews of today to those of Jesus’ time, claim­ing both had dis­pro­por­tion­ate influ­ence over the gov­ern­ment. “Did you know the Jesus had a real prob­lem with the Jew­ish com­mu­nity? They had power, the rab­bis of that day, over the Roman author­i­ties just as they have power today over our gov­ern­ment,” he alleged.noi-rg-9-11-israel-tweet

Farrakhan’s bla­tantly anti-Semitic pub­lic state­ments are just one part of the NOI’s larger anti-Jewish pro­pa­ganda cam­paign. The NOI Research Group (NOIRG), which cre­ated a web­site in 2012 that pro­motes vir­u­lently anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­ries, tweeted and posted on Face­book a num­ber of times that Israel was behind 9/11, includ­ing most recently (Decem­ber 3) post­ing that “#Israel has an ugly his­tory of deadly false flag oper­a­tions, includ­ing 9/11….”

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June 13, 2013 3

Farrakhan Invited By Public Officials To Alabama Rallies

Update – June 17, 2013: Dur­ing his remarks in front of the Alabama State Capi­tol, Far­rakhan report­edly stated that white peo­ple, “don’t have the will to allow you to vote uncon­tested.” Far­rakhan also report­edly told the crowd that Jews “know the value of money” and “mis­use their power.” Speak­ers at the rally had no short­age of praise for Far­rakhan. Sen. Hank Sanders’ wife, Faya Toure, a Selma lawyer who helped orga­nize the event, called Far­rakhan “one of the great­est lead­ers of our gen­er­a­tion. I don’t care what the SPLC says, I don’t care what the Jews say.”

Update – June 14, 2013: In a let­ter to the Birm­ing­ham Jew­ish Fed­er­a­tion, State Sen­a­tor Hank Sanders reit­er­ated his unabashed sup­port for Louis Far­rakhan speak­ing at the Alabama ral­lies. In the let­ter, Sanders stated, “I applaud him [Far­rakhan] for the good things he has done,” turn­ing a blind eye to Farrakhan’s decades of hate­ful words against Jews, white peo­ple, and the LGBT community.

Nation of Islam (NOI) leader Louis Far­rakhan was invited by a group of Alabama elected offi­cials to par­tic­i­pate in mul­ti­ple June 14 ral­lies to sup­port the exten­sion of the fed­eral Vot­ing Rights Act. The ral­lies will take place in Birm­ing­ham, Selma, the Shelby County Cour­t­house, and the steps of the State Capi­tol in Montgomery.farrakhan-alabama-jews

The invi­ta­tion to Far­rakhan comes at a time when Far­rakhan has made numer­ous egre­giously anti-Semitic state­ments, claim­ing that “Satanic Jews” and the “Syn­a­gogue of Satan” con­trol America’s gov­ern­ment, econ­omy, media, and other sectors.

Despite his recent hate­ful state­ments in Detroit as well as his racist and anti-Semitic remarks over a three-decade career, Far­rakhan was pub­licly endorsed by Alabama State Sen­a­tors Hank Sanders (D-Selma) and Bobby Sin­gle­ton (D-Greensboro) and Tuskegee Mayor Johnny Ford.

Dur­ing a speech in front of the seal of the Alabama State House last week, Sen­a­tor Sanders said, “We’re really proud that the Hon­or­able Min­is­ter Louis Far­rakhan has agreed [to speak].”

Mayor Ford added, “We reached out to Min­is­ter Far­rakhan because we know that he has the power to mobi­lize Black peo­ple as well as some whites who believe in progress in work­ing for free­dom and jus­tice.” He also called Farrakhan’s par­tic­i­pa­tion “his­toric.” Ford pre­vi­ously pub­licly show­ered Far­rakhan with praise in March. While intro­duc­ing Far­rakhan before his speech to stu­dents at Tuskegee Uni­ver­sity, Ford gave him a key to the city and pro­claimed him “hon­orary mayor of Tuskegee for life.”

On June 5, ADL called the invi­ta­tion “a ter­ri­ble mis­take” and urged the pub­lic offi­cials who invited Far­rakhan to Alabama to “with­draw their invi­ta­tion and reject his hate­ful rhetoric.”

In addi­tion to the elected offi­cials, oth­ers par­tic­i­pat­ing include the NAACP and the South­ern Chris­t­ian Lead­er­ship Conference.

Farrakhan’s demo­niza­tion of Jews expands beyond his pub­lic speeches. He also spreads his hate­ful con­spir­a­to­r­ial world­view through social media, the NOI’s tra­di­tional media arm, and his 52-week online lec­ture series, launched in Jan­u­ary 2013.

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