‘Deeply Concerning’: Democratic Senator Opposes Biden Judicial Nominee Over Anti-Police Ties

Adeel Abdullah Mangi (Twitter)
March 20, 2024

President Joe Biden’s quest to put Adeel Mangi on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals appears in jeopardy after a key Senate Democrat came out against the "historic" nominee, whose ties to an anti-police group have landed him in hot water.

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D., Nev.) said Tuesday she "cannot support" Mangi, citing his affiliation with the Alliance of Families for Justice. The Washington Free Beacon reported that Mangi serves on the advisory board of the left-wing group, which has called for the parole of six black nationalists serving life sentences for murdering police officers. The Alliance of Families for Justice, which counts Weather Underground terrorist Kathy Boudin as a founding board member, referred to the cop killers as "freedom fighters" who were illegally targeted by the FBI.

Cortez Masto called Mangi’s board position "deeply concerning" and noted the Alliance of Families for Justice sponsors a fellowship in honor of Boudin, who was convicted of murdering two police officers in an armored truck robbery in 1981.

Cortez Masto’s defection deals a major blow to a Biden nominee the White House has fought tooth-and-nail to confirm. The White House has touted Mangi as a "historic" pick because he would be the first Muslim to serve on a federal appeals court. A Biden spokesman has said the president is "extremely proud" to have nominated Mangi, a naturalized citizen born in Pakistan.

With Cortez Masto’s opposition—and Republicans expected to unanimously oppose Mangi—Democrats would have to keep the rest of the caucus in line in order to confirm him.

That could prove a tall task. Several other unidentified Senate Democrats have reportedly told the White House they have reservations about Mangi. Sens. Jon Tester (D., Mont.) and Tammy Baldwin (D., Wisc.), who are up for reelection this year, said they are still weighing their decision. Conservative groups have also pressured Sens. Bob Casey (D., Pa.) and Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) to oppose Mangi, whose affiliations could prove a liability for the two swing-state incumbents in an election year.

Casey, who has not said how he’ll vote, has been of particular interest given Mangi would have jurisdiction over federal cases in Pennsylvania if confirmed. The Third Circuit has presided over cases involving Mumia Abu-Jamal, one of the cop killers the Alliance of Families for Justice has defended. The Third Circuit overturned Abu-Jamal’s death sentence in 2011. Casey voted against then-president Barack Obama’s nominee for a Justice Department civil rights post in 2014 over his legal work for Abu-Jamal, who murdered Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981.

Police groups representing nearly 300,000 officers have voiced opposition to Mangi over his ties to the Alliance of Families for Justice and the Legal Aid Society of New York. The latter, where Mangi previously served as a board director, has called to defund police departments and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Free Beacon reported.

The National Sheriffs’ Association called Mangi’s link to the Alliance of Families for Justice "seriously disturbing" and said they "raise concerns about a potential bias against victims and law enforcement." The Rockland County Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, the police union that represented the two officers murdered during Kathy Boudin’s heist, said Mangi’s affiliation with the Alliance of Families for Justice shows "his lack of care for life and the rule of law."

Mangi joined the Alliance of Families for Justice in 2019 and the group still lists him as an advisory board member. The organization launched in 2016 to advocate for the families of people serving in prison. Boudin, who was paroled in 2002, served as a founding board member. The alliance launched a fellowship in her name after her death in 2022 to honor her commitment to "fighting injustices and creating a better world for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people." One of Mangi's fellow board members is Jamal Joseph, a former Black Panther Party member who served prison time for harboring fugitives involved in Boudin's case.

The White House is not yet giving up on Mangi. White House spokesman Andrew Bates urged other Democrats to support the nominee and accused Republicans of "a malicious and debunked smear campaign" to derail the nomination.

Bates also accused Republicans of "Islamophobia" for criticizing Mangi over his ties to the Rutgers Center for Security, Race, and Rights, a think tank that has criticized Israel as a genocidal regime. The center blamed the Jewish state for the Oct. 7 Hamas attack and has hosted anti-Semite and convicted terrorist Sami al-Arian. Mangi came under further scrutiny after the Washington Examiner reported that he failed to disclose that he moderated a panel on "Islamophobia" in 2022 at a conference co-sponsored by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a group with longstanding affinity for Hamas.

Mangi has not addressed concerns about his affiliation with the Alliance of Families for Justice or any interactions with Boudin. He has not returned repeated requests for comment from the Free Beacon.