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As White House Stands by Embattled Judicial Nominee, Democrats Jump Ship

The nomination of Judge Adeel Mangi, President Joe Biden’s nominee for the United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals, continues to look even further imperiled as some of Biden’s fellow Democrats are among those opposed. This comes as Jewish groups and police organizations have expressed concerns as well. The White House continues to stand by Mangi, with Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirming as much during Monday’s press briefing. The reports that continue to come out don’t bode so well, however. 

Towards the end of the briefing, a reporter asked what the White House was doing to get him confirmed, specifically in the context of how “there were three Democratic senators now who have said they won’t vote for his confirmation,” wanting to know “are you all doing anything specific to change their minds?”

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), as well as retiring Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) are opposed to Mangi’s nomination. As of last week, Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV), who is running for reelection, is opposed as well

“I have said this many times before: The President was very proud to nominate Adeel Mangi,” Jean-Pierre offered, not wanting to “speak specifically to members.” In speaking to how Mangi’s “extraordinary qualifications and integrity are gaining him new backing each day,” Jean-Pierre didn’t so much focus on the nominee, as she did the support she says he has.

Jean-Pierre also went after Mangi’s critics as she insisted “we are doing everything that we can to make sure that he gets through,” adding “this Senate should side with qualities that make America exceptional, which Mr. Mangi embodies, not the hateful forces that we’re seeing trying to–to force America into the past. 

Before moving on to the last question, Jean-Pierre offered an unspecific response of how “we’re going to continue–our–our office here, the president is going to continue to do everything that we can to get him through,” adding “we believe he’s extraordinarily qualified to–for this position.” In case there’s any doubt the White House is sticking by him, Jean-Pierre insisted “the president is proud to have nominated him, and we’re going to continue to do the work.”

When it comes to opposition from what Jean-Pierre decries as “hateful forces,” there have been concerns about Mangi’s association as a board advisor with the Center for Security, Race and Rights (CSRR) at Rutgers Law School. 

An increasing amount of police groups are opposed to Mangi’s nomination as well, especially as a group Mangi was also a board member for, the Alliance of Families For Justice, referred to cop killers as “freedom fighters.”

Republican senators have brought up many of these concerns, including members on the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

Charges of Mangi’s critics being motivated by Islamophobia have also been constantly thrown around. This includes but is not limited to the White House

In remarks from March 21, however, McConnell made clear his opposition to Mangi is based on record and not his religion. “In the case of Mr. Mangi, Senate Republicans’ opposition has nothing to do with his Muslim faith. Rather, it has everything to do with his longstanding sympathy for, and association with, some of the most radical elements in society,” McConnell shared from the Senate floor. 

Even more embarrassing to this charge is, as McConnell also pointed out, he and 31 other Republicans voted for another Muslim judicial nominee. “I happily voted for the first Muslim article III judge at the outset of the Biden administration, also of New Jersey,” the Republican leader pointed out. “So did 31 of my Republican colleagues, in one of the largest bipartisan votes for a judge in the Biden presidency. But we didn’t support this nominee because he was Muslim. It was because he had an extraordinary personal and professional background.”

McConnell further contrasted Mangi from there with Judge Nahid Quraishi:

“Mr. Mangi’s associated center at Rutgers asks convicted terrorists if we overly ‘exceptionalize’ 9/11.

“Judge Quraishi, on the other hand, thought 9/11 was exceptional and joined the Army soon after, rendering honorable service in Iraq.

“Mr. Mangi has spent his career making millions defending corporate clients like foreign energy companies, massive drugmakers, and even chocolate monopolists, all while volunteering his time to support anti-police activists.

“Judge Quraishi, on the other hand, supported law enforcement professionally, first at Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and then as an Assistant U.S. Attorney.

“We’re told that any questioning Mr. Mangi’s record is ‘Islamophobia.’

“On the other hand, the terrorist-adjacent Council on American Islamic Relations demanded that Senators ‘probe’ Judge Quraishi’s experience in the Army and in law enforcement, saying their concerns ‘must be addressed.’

“According to Democrats’ rhetoric, shouldn’t this organization also be condemned for Islamophobia?

“Two Muslim Biden nominees with records as different as night and day. Republicans happily supported the nominee who served his country and backed the blue. We have and will continue to oppose the nominee who has repeatedly chosen instead to mingle with supporters of terrorists and cop-killers.

“What self-respecting attorney wants to hear that a President cares more about their demographic tick-boxes than their life’s work,” McConnell had also questioned earlier in his remarks when bringing up the “insulting” claim from the White House that Republicans are opposed to Mangi because he’s Muslim. 

Also on Monday, the same day that Jean-Pierre insisted the White House was sticking by Mangi, Fox News’ Chad Pergram chimed in on “Special Report” to highlight how “support [was] slipping” for Mangi, and in an already closely divided Senate. Not only did Pergram speak to Cortez Masto’s opposition, but the infighting between critics. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), who passionately argued in favor of Mangi from the Senate floor, was among those who claimed critics are opposed because the nominee is Muslim. 

Pergram also offered a telling reason as to why the White House might not want to withdraw the nomination, given that “President Biden is struggling with Muslim voters upset about his Middle East policy” and “withdrawing the nomination could provoke that group even more.”