In the space of 10 days the president has seen his Democrat-controlled Senate either reject outright or put “on hold” two of his most vicious anti-American appointments, despite all the pressure the president could bring to bear on those recalcitrant Senators who voted against them. In short, these are back-to-back victories for the American people and for the Constitution of the United States.
The first was the rejection, 47-52, by the Senate of Debo Adegbile for a key position in the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department. That he was a hard-core radical was made clear in an article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal just days before the vote. Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey and Seth Williams, the District Attorney for Philadelphia blew the whistle on Adegbile:
We raise concerns here about only one issue: Mr. Adegbile’s support for convicted Philadelphia cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Let there be no mistake. Our concern is not based on the fact that Mr. Adegbile acted as an attorney for a criminal defendant. The right to counsel is a fundamental part of America’s criminal justice system, and no lawyer should be faulted for the crimes of his clients.
But it is one thing to provide legal representation, and quite another to seize on a case and turn it into a political platform from which to launch an extreme attack on the justice system….
Mr. Adegbile chose in 2009 to enter the circus created by Abu-Jamal and inject his organization into the case. Under Mr. Adegbile’s leadership and through rallies, protests and a media campaign, the Legal Defense Fund actively fanned the racial firestorm.
In a news release issued when it took over as Abu-Jamal’s counsel, the Legal Defense Fund proclaimed that Abu-Jamal was a “symbol of the racial injustices of the death penalty.”
There is far more than just Adegbile’s promotion of a cop-killer as some kind of folk-hero. In his friend of the court brief to the Supreme Court as it considered its decision in the Hosanna Tabor case, he argued that Christian churches – all of them, of any denomination – should be stripped of their “ministerial exception” which would then give the government control over how those churches would be run, including giving the government the power to grant approval, or not, of their ministers. Happily all nine justices rejected Adegbile’s petition in the case.
There was his contribution to a 44-page paper funded by George Soros’ American Constitution Society which, among other radical recommendations, urged President Obama only “to nominate judges who will [recognize] that ratified treaties and customary international law are the law of the land” in America.
The New York Times noted, following the Senate rejection, that Obama was “furious” over the defection. It made clear that the White House had gravely miscalculated – counting on Obama’s personal magnetism and back-room threats to be enough to carry the day. It was especially annoying as Obama’s tool in the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid, had managed to install the “nuclear option” late last year that blocked Republican filibusters on all of his nominations. Wrote the Times:
Mr. Obama’s team appears to have misjudged the effort required to secure [Adegbile’s] nomination in the face of growing pressure from angry police groups and Officer [Daniel] Faulkner’s widow, who also lobbied senators.
The president made no effort to mount a public campaign on behalf of his nominee, instead betting on his own powers of private persuasion and on the procedural mastery of Mr. Reid.
Two of the most hard-left members of the Senate decided that their careers were more important than kowtowing to the president’s keening: Senator Chris Coons of Delaware and Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania. Said Coons:
The decades-long public campaign … to elevate a heinous, cold-blooded killer to the status of political prisoner and folk hero has caused tremendous pain to the widow of Philadelphia Police officer Daniel Faulkner and shows great disrespect for law enforcement officers throughout our region….
At a time when the Civil Rights Division urgently needs better relations with the law enforcement community, I was troubled by the idea of voting for an Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights who would face such visceral opposition from law enforcement on his first day on the job.
The vote I cast today was one of the most difficult I have taken since joining the Senate, but I believe it to be right for the people I represent.
Coons won a special election to replace Joe Biden when he resigned to become Vice President. In November is running for reelection.
Casey, who isn’t running in November, nevertheless sealed Adegbile’s doom by responding to his constituents (and his own self-interest) and voting no. He explained why:
I respect that our system of law ensures the right of all citizens to legal representation no matter how heinous the crime.
At the same time, it is important that we ensure that Pennsylvanians and citizens across the country have full confidence in their public representatives – both elected and appointed.
The vicious murder of Officer Faulkner in the line of duty and the events that followed in the 30 years since his death have left open wounds for Maureen Faulkner and her family as well as the City of Philadelphia.
The other nominee to be iced is the anti-gun doctor who, until very recently, looked like a shoo-in as Surgeon General: Dr. Vivek Murthy. If there were a candidate more perfectly qualified to occupy the bully pulpit as Surgeon General, one would be hard pressed to find him.
Born to Indian parents in Huddersfield, England, Murthy and his parents moved to Miami, Florida when he was three. A child prodigy, he breezed through high school, graduating in 1994 after being voted valedictorian. He attended Harvard where he graduated magna cum laude in just three years with a degree in Biochemical Sciences. Just 7 years later he graduated from the Yale School of Medicine with an MD and an MBA from Yale’s School of Management.
Just 27 Murthy then began to apply himself, founding three medical service and support companies – TrialNetworks, Epernicus, and Visions Worldwide.
Along the way he found time to found Doctors for Obama in 2008 which gathered some 15,000 physicians from around the country to push then-Senator Barack Obama into the White House, supporting Obama’s healthcare initiative from the very first day. He and his group organized marches on Washington, filed friends of the court briefs before the Supreme Court in favor of Obamacare, and took strong positions against the Second Amendment.
His belief that doctors should run Obama’s healthcare system rather than letting individuals make their own healthcare decisions was clear for the first:
[I] was struck by how few physicians were organizing and gathering their ideas to actually make an impact on the candidates’ platforms and, ultimately, on a health reform bill….
A few colleagues and I began Doctors for America [the name was changed following Obama’s victory in 2008] with a simple belief that physicians should play a leadership role in designing and running our nation’s health care system.
His virulent anti-gun bias showed up in numerous places, including a tweet from before the 2012 reelection of the president: “[I am] tired of politicians playing politics w/ guns, putting lives at risk b/c they’re scared of NRA. Guns are a health care issue.”
His Doctors for America (DFA) has exhibited its extreme agenda, pushing congress to ban “assault” weapons and “high-capacity” magazines, and spending more tax dollars for more research to prove that fewer guns would lower the crime rate.
His group promotes the invasion of privacy by doctors by allowing them to ask patients if they have guns at home, and pushing back against Florida Governor Rick Snyder’s decision to sign into a law a bill prohibiting doctors there from asking the question.
His group disparaged the law, calling it “Docs v. Glocks – Florida’s Gag Rule on Doctors” instead of calling it by its correct name: a bill to protect the privacy of individuals living in Florida.
In short, Murthy was the perfect candidate for Obama. He had all the right friends, all the right enemies, all the right credentials, all the right activist history. He should have won in a walk.
But then, along came the National Rifle Association (NRA) which saw the threat: Murthy would no doubt have promoted his anti-gun propaganda from the highly respected office of Surgeon General. Noting which Senators are up for reelection this November, the NRA went to work in Alaska, Arkansas and Louisiana. Wrote the Times:
The latest effort came on Friday evening when the NRA sent a “grass-roots alert” to millions of email subscribers, imploring them to “contact hour senators and ask them to oppose confirmation of President Obama’s radically antigun nominee.”
That effort was more than enough to stall the nomination, perhaps permanently. First came Senator Mark Begich of Alaska who announced his intention to vote no if the nomination came to the floor: “I will very likely vote ‘no’ on his nomination … I share your concern about Dr. Murthy’s views of favor of gun control.”
The other targeted senators are Landrieu of Louisiana, Pryor of Arkansas and Walsh of Montana. Reid decided to “postpone” the vote in light of the fact that 10 or more Democrats are running away from Murthy. The nominee will be given the opportunity to withdraw his nomination or wait until Reid brings it back after the election – assuming he can gather enough votes then. Even that prospect is dimming. Instead of being a shoo-in, Murthy looks more and more like another name dropped down Obama’s memory hole.
The founders haven’t been given enough credit for designing a system of government that, despite grievous and damaging attacks over the years, still gives constituents the right and the power to influence such nominations under the First Amendment. The November elections are just one of the brilliant limitations placed on radicals like Adegbile, Murthy and Obama to keep the government from turning into a dictatorship.
New York Times: Democrats in Senate Reject Pick by Obama
New York Times: Senate Balks at Obama Pick for Surgeon General
Light From The Right: First Senate Rejection of an Obama Appointee
Light From The Right: Anti-Gun Doctor Likely to be Confirmed as Surgeon General
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Mumia Abu-Jamal in murder of police officer Daniel Faulkner