Adeel Mangi’s Radical Ties Upset Republicans. Democrats Won’t Like His Big Law Work.

Adeel Abdullah Mangi (Twitter)
March 25, 2024

Republicans have opposed Biden judicial nominee Adeel Mangi over his links to anti-Israel and anti-cop groups. Now, Mangi’s work as a high-powered corporate attorney for pharmaceutical giants and accused monopolists could turn Democrats against him.

Mangi, President Joe Biden’s pick for the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, is a partner at the firm Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler. In that role, he has defended major companies including Johnson & Johnson and Hershey’s against price-fixing allegations. These cases saw Mangi face off against some of the labor unions he’s now counting on for support, and reportedly helped him take home $4.4 million last year.

That track record could make it difficult for some Democrats to vote for Mangi. Vulnerable Democratic Sens. Bob Casey (Pa.) and Sherrod Brown (Ohio) have touted their union bona fides and railed against corporations they’ve accused of corporate greed. Casey serves on the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee, which, under chairman Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), hauled the CEOs of Johnson & Johnson and other drug makers before a hearing earlier this year regarding "outrageously high prices" of prescription drugs.

In 2017, Mangi defended Johnson & Johnson against allegations that it schemed to block health insurers from purchasing cheaper alternatives to Remicade, which treats rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease, according to court records. The Plumbers Local Union No. 200 and the International Union of Operating Engineers, both of which are affiliated with the AFL-CIO, joined a class action lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson over Remicade pricing in 2018. The drug company, which makes $4 billion a year from Remicade, settled the lawsuit last year.

"​​Mr. Mangi’s credentials and career demonstrate that he is imminently qualified [sic] to be an appellate judge and we urge his quick confirmation," the AFL-CIO, the country’s largest trade union, wrote to senators last month.

Mangi represented Johnson & Johnson in a class action lawsuit that accused the company of fixing the price of insulin test strips. The lawsuit alleged Johnson & Johnson and three other companies had "artificially inflated" prices of test strips, causing "consumers to overpay for these life-saving medical products."

Mangi represented Abbott Laboratories in a lawsuit filed by the Teamsters union, which accused the drug maker of illegally forcing doctors to prescribe its anti-seizure drug Depakote. In 2012, Abbott Laboratories pleaded guilty to federal charges that it illegally prescribed the drug to treat bipolar disorder. A federal appeals court judge dismissed the Teamsters lawsuit against Abbott, ruling that the drug maker defrauded physicians rather than union members.

Mangi has represented other controversial clients. In 2014, Mangi’s firm touted its legal victory on behalf of The Hershey Company, which was sued for fixing chocolate prices with other confectioners. Hershey pleaded guilty to fixing chocolate prices in a landmark Canadian case in 2013. But Mangi and his law firm successfully argued that while Hersey fixed prices in Canada, it did not do so in the United States.

Mangi’s defenders in the Senate and the labor movement may be unaware of his controversial client roster. The Senate Judiciary Committee required Mangi to detail his 10 "most significant" legal cases. He disclosed three cases involving Johnson & Johnson, though not those in which the company was accused of fixing drug prices. Mangi also failed to disclose that he spoke at a conference in 2022 cosponsored by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an anti-Israel activist group, the Washington Examiner reported.

Republicans have unified against Mangi over his board position with a Rutgers University think tank that accuses Israel of genocide in Gaza, and his role with another group, the Alliance of Families for Justice, that hailed six convicted cop killers as "freedom fighters."

Democrats have largely rallied to defend Mangi, hailing him as "supremely qualified" and accusing Republicans of "Islamophobia." But two Democrats—Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin—have come out against Mangi, citing his affiliation with the Alliance of Justice for Families.

Mangi and the AFL-CIO did not respond to requests for comment.