The White House quietly revealed President Obama’s presidential appointments of Catherine Lhamon and Debo Adegbile to six-year terms on the U.S. Civil Rights Commission the day ahead of his final press conference of the year. The two appointments are hard-hitting moves for a president on his way out the door.
Obama earlier selected Adegbile to head the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. However, a bipartisan group of senators prevented the nomination in 2014 because of Adegbile’s defense of convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Understandably, Adegbile’s appointment, which will not entail congressional approval, caused pro-police groups to cry foul.
The president of the Philadelphia chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, John McNesby, called the appointment a “kick in the teeth to the cops.”
While in a statement issued Friday, Sam Cabral, president of the International Union of Police Associations, called the appointment a “slap in the face to every law-enforcement officer in this great nation”.
Further, Republican Senator from Pennsylvania Pat Toomey issued a tersely worded statement requesting Obama to retract the appointment.
Toomey’s statement read: “Mr. Adegbile did not simply defend a client. He supervised an effort to lionize unrepentant cop-killer Mumia Abu Jamal, who cold-bloodedly murdered Philadelphia police officer Danny Faulkner 35 years ago. Mr. Adegbile also supervised the effort to spread misinformation about the trial and evidence, fabricate claims of racism, malign Philly police, and organize rallies across the globe that portrayed this brutal cop-killer as the victim.”
“A Democrat-led U.S. Senate evaluated the facts and agreed that Debo Adegbile is not fit to represent the American people as an enforcer of civil rights. This judgment included the votes of seven Democrats. I call on President Obama to adhere to the bipartisan judgment of the U.S. Senate and withdraw his appointment of Debo Adegbile to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.”
Catherine Lhamon performed a crucial part in the now-infamous Rolling Stone hoax. Furthermore, coordinated the Obama administration’s revamp of Title IX, and co-wrote the “Dear Colleague” letter requiring transgender bathroom use in public schools. Her appointment is an equally aggressive appointment for a president with only over a month remaining in office.
“The long tradition has been for outgoing presidents to leave to incoming presidents the appointments to vacancies occurring this late in the term,” the Center for Equal Opportunity president Roger Clegg claimed in an article for National Review.
Neither Adegible nor Lhamon mentioned in Obama’s press conference
In a statement, the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress commended the appointments. It said both appointees’ “experience and passion will be crucial in meeting the fights that await the country as we continue to work on improving the lives of all Americans and protecting the Obama administration’s civil rights victories of the past eight years.”
Thanks in part to Obama’s press conference Friday which ruled the news cycle into the weekend, both appointments were left mostly neglected by the media. Obama’s press conference did not include any mentions of either Adegbile or Lhamon. As of this writing, neither CNN online nor the Washington Post coverage has reported the appointments.