‘Islamophobia?’ Senators oppose confirmation of judicial nominee

‘Islamophobia?’ Senators oppose confirmation of Biden judicial nominee

If he is confirmed, Adeel Mangi, who was born in Pakistan, would be the first Muslim American to serve on a federal court
/ 03:52 PM March 29, 2024

Adeel Mangi

Judicial nominee Adeel Mangi. Photo from Ethnic Media Services (Patterson Belknap photo)

The confirmation of Adeel Mangi, President Joe Biden’s pick to serve on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, appears to be indefinitely stalled as Senators on both sides of the aisle voice their concerns about the Oxford and Harvard-educated attorney.

If he is confirmed, Mangi, who was born in Karachi, Pakistan, would be the first Muslim American to serve on a federal court. But Republican senators have largely opposed the nomination, which the White House has characterized as Islamophobia. Three Democratic Senators also announced this month that they will not confirm Mangi.

Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, took to the Senate floor March 21 to denounce Mangi. “He is an anti-Semite, associated with the most radical, anti-police activists. He mingles with terrorists and cop killers, yet we’re told that any questioning of Mangi is Islamophobic?”

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Biden stands by nomination

White House spokesman Andrew Bates told Ethnic Media Services March 26 that President Joe Biden continues to stand by his nomination of Mangi.

President Biden is proud to have nominated Adeel Mangi, whose extraordinary qualifications and integrity are gaining him new backing each day,” said Bates. He noted that the nominee has received the endorsement of several Jewish American organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League, as well as law enforcement organizations.

“Mr. Mangi has lived the American Dream and proven his integrity. He is being targeted by a malicious and debunked smear campaign solely because he would make history as the first Muslim to serve as a federal appellate judge,” said Bates. “The Senate should side with the qualities that makes America exceptional — which Mr. Mangi embodies — not the hateful forces trying to force America into the past.”


Support for Hamas?

White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients, counsel Ed Siskel and director of legislative affairs Shuwanza Goff are calling senators this week to try to advance Mangi’s confirmation, which appears on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s calendar without a date.

Mangi is a partner at the law firm of Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler in New York. “Growing up in Pakistan, I saw that if one’s rights were violated, the courts would not come to their defense. That has shaped my career,” he said, noting his history of pro bono work with civil rights organizations.

During a hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee last December, Mangi was subjected to extensive grilling by several Republicans. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, repeatedly asked Mangi: “Do you condemn the activities of Hamas terrorists? Is there any justification for for their actions?”


Associating with terrorists

“I have no patience for anyone who attempts to justify that violence,” responded Mangi. Cruz said that he was not answering the question. Mangi stated: “I will condemn any terrorist, any terrorism, and any act of terrorism.”

The nominee was also questioned about serving on the advisory board of Rutgers Law School’s Center for Security, Race and Rights. On the 20th year after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack, the organization held a briefing with several speakers who appeared to support anti-Semitism.

Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Arizona, and John Kennedy, R-Louisiana, questioned Mangi extensively about why he remained on the board. “You invited people who were convicted of contributing to the horror of 9/11. Is this the way you celebrate 9/11?” asked Kennedy. Mangi said he had never heard of the event prior to the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

Anti police organizations

Sens. Jacky Rosen and Catherine Cortez Masto, both Democrats from Nevada, said this month that they will not vote to confirm Mangi. Both senators cite the nominees affiliation to the organization Alliance for Justice, an organization characterized as “anti-police.”

Alliance for Justice was founded by the late Kathy Boudin, the mother of former San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin. In 1981, Kathy Boudin, a member of the underground group, the Weathermen, was involved in a Brinks truck heist in New York, which ended with the murder of two police officers. She pleaded guilty to 2nd degree murder and spent 20 years in prison.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, has also said he would oppose Mangi’s confirmation unless there is bipartisan support.

‘Making something out of nothing’

Charanjit Brahma, president of the South Asian Bar Association, told EMS there are efforts underway to get one or two Republicans on board to support Mangi’s confirmation; thus Manchin could potentially reverse his decision.

“Republican senators have exaggerated the relationship Mr. Mangi has had with certain people. They are making something out of nothing. This is Islamophobia,” Brahma stated, adding: “It is a very unfortunate make-up of the Senate Judiciary Committee.”

“Are we going to ask all White nominees if they supported the Confederacy?” queried the attorney. He noted that Mangi had brought his wife and two children to the Judiciary Committee hearing. “His children had to watch while their father was accused of supporting terrorism.”

“The treatment Adeel has received has had a chilling effect for Muslim Americans who have shown nothing but loyalty to our country. Hopefully, we will reverse direction,” said Brahma, an intellectual property trial attorney at Benesch Law. (Ethnic Media Services)

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TAGS: Islamophobia, US Senate
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