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McConnell Opposes Cop-Killer Advocate

12:06 PM, Mar 5, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
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“District Attorney Williams notes that, given all the cases in which the LDF could be involved, it was ‘telling’ that the nominee would go out of his way to inject himself and his organization into this one. ‘His decision to champion the cause of an extremist cop-killer… sends a message of contempt to police officers.’

“The National Fraternal Order of Police wrote President Obama to express its ‘vehement opposition to the nomination.’ The FOP wrote that ‘as word of this nomination spreads through the law enforcement community, reactions range from anger to incredulity,’ and that it ‘can be interpreted in only one way: it is a thumb in the eye of our nation’s law enforcement officers.’

“The Kentucky Narcotic Officers’ Association wrote me a powerful letter in opposition to the nomination as well. In it, they note that, ‘The thought that [the nominee] would be rewarded, in part, for the work he did for Officer Faulkner’s killer is revolting.’

“The nominee has acknowledged that as the Director of Litigation for the LDF, he ‘supervised [its] entire legal staff.’ According to the LDF’s own website, the Director is responsible for coordinating ‘the selection of cases’ the LDF chooses to get involved in. He manages ‘all aspects of the legal docket.’ He oversees ‘all aspects of discovery, motion practice, briefs, trials, appellate work and amicus briefing.’

“And as the Director of Litigation, he is responsible for advocacy ‘both in the courts of law and in the court of public opinion.’ Let me repeat, he is responsible for advocacy ‘both in the courts of law and in the court of public opinion.’

“As the head of the Civil Rights Division, the nominee now would be responsible for fulfilling the Division’s mission of ‘upholding the civil and constitutional rights of all individuals.’ And he would have powerful resources at his disposal, as well as the discretion to determine how, and on whose behalf, to use them.

“As the junior senator from Pennsylvania has noted, the head of the Civil Rights Division must ‘have an absolute commitment to truth and justice.’ My friend from Pennsylvania goes on to observe that while ‘there are many highly qualified Americans who can carry out this critical mission,’ the nominee’s ‘record creates serious doubts that he is one of them.’

“I could not say it any better. Everyone deserves a fair trial and a zealous legal defense. And lawyers aren’t personally responsible for the actions of their clients. But lawyers are responsible for their own actions.

“In this case, the nominee inserted his office in an effort to turn reality on its head, impugn honorable and selfless law enforcement officers, and glorify an unrepentant cop-killer. This is not required by our legal system. On the contrary, it is noxious to it.

“I therefore will oppose the nomination, and strongly urge my colleagues to do so as well.

“Finally, I would like to note the manner in which this nomination may come to an up or down vote. Last fall, the Majority chose to break the Rules of the Senate in order to change the Rules of the Senate. In so doing, they violated the right of the Minority under the Rules to require extended debate on controversial nominees to powerful federal positions.

“This serious breach of the Rules is an on-going violation, and it is highlighted again today by the Majority’s effort to muscle-through the current nominee under a procedure they came up with in the Majority Leader’s conference room, not through the Rules Committee and the regular order, as was promised.

“Members of the Majority who voted for this heavy-handed procedure last fall will be responsible for the nominee’s confirmation today, if that occurs, regardless of how they vote on the nomination itself. And they should not be heard to complain that the nominations process is not as productive as it was just a few months ago—before they threw caution to the wind and violated our rights under the Standing Rules of the Senate.”

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