Congress Ethics Justice Racism

The Only Anti-American Person in the Room is Pat Toomey


During his speech at CPAC — the GOP’s version of vacation bible school — Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) said one of the most distinctly anti-Americans I can think of while accusing Debo Adegbile of being anti-American.

“This was always about the principle that no one should be able to make a mockery of our criminal justice system, fan the flames of racial strife in America, join a dishonest, international anti-American campaign, along the way drag the family of a fallen police officer with three decades of health and then be burned by most of the Justice Department,” Toomey said during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday.

According to Toomey, performing your duty on behalf of the defense means you are making a ‘mockery of the criminal justice system.’ And not only that; defending someone means you’re anti-American.

Last time I checked everyone in America is entitled to a defense. That is the foundation of our criminal justice system.

Pat Toomey is more or less saying that not everyone deserves a defense; that not everyone should be granted equal protection under the law.

Toomey’s rant at CPAC was exceptionally anti-American and, from my perspective, it borders on the fascist to accuse someone of being anti-American for defending someone you have deemed anti-American.

If you’re unfamiliar with Adegbile’s past, The Atlantic has a brief history lesson.

The most significant opposition to Adegbile’s nomination came in response to his participation in the NAACP Legal Defense Fund’s representation of Mumia Abu-Jamal, the man convicted of killing a Philadelphia police officer in 1981. Adegbile did not represent the defendant at trial. He did not declare his client to be innocent. Instead, he worked on a series of briefs supporting an appeal that made a legitimate legal argument. He did, in other words, precisely what he was expected to do on behalf of an organization dedicated to civil rights. For this he was deemed unfit to run the Civil Rights Division.

As many others have pointed out, this idea that nominees should be held accountable for the clients they defended in the past is applied selectively.

Given that not everyone, including the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, isn’t held to the same standard, I’m not willing accept that this had nothing to do with race.

To quote Senator Tom Harkin:

“Here is the message we sent today: if you’re a young white person and you go to work for a law firm, you’re a lawyer sworn into the bar … and a law firm assigns you to defend a person who killed eight people in cold blood … you might wind up to be the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.”

Opposing a nominee for the Civil Rights Division for acting as defense is the true mockery of our criminal justice system.