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I am appalled at Wednesday’s votes by Senators Casey and Toomey to reject the confirmation of Debo Adegbile because he once represented convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.
What message are they trying to send? That only certain defendants are entitled to competent legal representation and that anyone who represents the wrong defendant can be punished?
The hallmark of the US justice system is due process, which gives all accused criminals-no matter how heinous their alleged crimes and regardless of their culpability-the right to be represented by competent defense counsel. This is the best way we have to reduce the number of innocent people who get convicted. Mr. Adegbile should not be punished for fulfilling this critical-and constitutional-duty.
After having heard the lamentations and milk-breathed wailing outside from the frozen huddled masses, yearning for warm whispers of a season seemingly lost in all but the most distant memories, it is time to remember or if we must be reminded - and with apologies to New York Sun editor Frank Church - that yes, Virginia your friends are wrong, there is a season called spring.
It exists this time of year in place that you cannot touch, see, taste or smell but it is there; hidden behind a thin veil of cold and time, it is there. The hard snow packs will give way to dripping eves and streams of water coursing over the sidewalks and plow torn earth freshly revealed by the retreating white.
Education is big business in this country and corporations and profiteers have their eye on it. Welcome to the new Core Curriculum Content Standards.
This is nothing more than an attempt for the federal government to control the education system and make it a “for-profit system” influenced by business and corporate partners. It’s not about the well-being of children and not about education. It’s about profits.
The issue of lawyers bankers and diplomats doing their jobs superlatively -- for causes which drive certain sections of the power elite crazy -- has gone both ways. Debo Adegbile is the latest victim of such power politics -- a lawyer who took up an unpopular cause, defending a cop-killer. Sen. Pat Toomey's argument (Inquirer, 3/3) amounts to saying that only incompetent lawyers should be allowed to defend controversial defendants.
Lawyers are not required to believe in the innocence of their clients. When diplomats like John Bolton are hired as Ambassadors to a United Nations they have professed to despise, one has to rethink whether such a presidential appointment is appropriate. There are often good reasons for politicians to vote against a presidential appointment.
The blatant demagoguery of politicians exploiting the 1981 murder of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner to score points they hope will serve them well in their next election is sickening. Among them include Sen. Pat Toomey, who has joined those vigorously opposing the nomination of civil rights attorney Debo Adegbile to head the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
A better candidate for the position could not be found, but Toomey and others say Adegbile should be disqualified because he was the NAACP Legal Defense Fund’s director of litigation when that organization advocated on behalf of Faulkner’s killer, Mumia Abu-Jamal, during appeals of his conviction.
Now the NAACP Legal Defense Fund is no fly-by-night organization. It is held in high esteem in this nation for its historic work in ending segregation with the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, which was argued by Defense Fund lawyer Thurgood Marshall, who later became America’s first black Supreme Court justice. Over the years, the Defense Fund has added to its mission the pursuit of justice in criminal cases in which racial discrimination is alleged to have been a factor.
It was good news that Pennsylvania will not appeal the judge’s decision to dismiss assisted suicide charges against Barbara Mancini.
However, it’s still unfortunate that even with a living will, a “Do Not Resuscitate” order, and when in hospice care, as our pain-wracked body shuts down, our wishes on how we want to die can sometimes be totally ignored.
Reading about this case over the last year, I’ve cringed at the thought of what Mancini had to bear on top of the death of her father whom she cared for with a daughter’s devotion and nurse’s skill. She was arrested and prosecuted in her attempts to uphold and honor her father’s last wishes to be relieved of pain and to die at home. Through Joseph Yourshaw’s tragic death four days later in a hospital, under circumstances that he made every effort to avoid, perhaps the growing public awareness will lead to change.