By Ian Bush
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Several Democrats, including Pennsylvania’s Bob Casey and Delaware’s Chris Coons, have joined Republicans in the Senate in quashing President Obama’s pick for a key post in the Justice Department. The nominee once helped overturn the death sentence for the man who murdered Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulker.
The president tapped Debo Adegbile to head the Civil Rights Division. He was part of the legal team that helped get Mumia Abu-Jamal off death row.
Senate confirmation should have been a breeze — with a Democratic nominee, the same party in control, and filibuster rules favoring the majority. But Faulkner’s widow mounted a campaign against Adegbile, and found a friend in Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey.
“I just felt that this was sufficiently important case,” Toomey said. “That it was worth taking on the fight.”
The Republican says he holds Adegbile responsible for how subordinates fought to free Abu-Jamal.
“Despite the fact that he was an admitted murderer. That was a political campaign to discredit this country and our criminal justice system,” he said.
In a statement, Mr Obama says “those who voted against his nomination denied the American people an outstanding public servant.”