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White House, allied groups launch wave of support for Muslim judicial nominee

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The White House, along with law enforcement and labor groups, is pushing back against what they call “Islamophobic attacks” against a Biden administration nominee who would become the first Muslim American federal appellate judge if confirmed.

The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced Adeel Mangi’s potentially historic nomination in January, after Republicans peppered him with questions on the Israel-Hamas war and the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The AFL-CIO and Coalition of the Underrepresented Law Enforcement Associations wrote to Senate and Judiciary panel leadership to voice their support for Mangi in recent weeks.

“We were upset and disturbed by some of the questions he was subjected to during his committee hearing. Nominees should be evaluated based on their intellectual abilities and a review of their legal careers and not based upon their religion,” wrote the AFL-CIO’s William Samuel.

The law enforcement organization, based in Mangi’s home state of New Jersey, wrote: “As law enforcement professionals, it is our collective belief that Mr. Mangi will help ensure equity in the administration of justice in all communities.”

“The White House stands 100 percent behind Mr. Mangi and we call on the Senate to swiftly confirm him. Mr. Mangi has been subjected to uniquely hostile attacks, in a way other nominees have not — precisely because of his Muslim faith,” White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates told POLITICO.

“Mr. Mangi has forcefully and repeatedly condemned antisemitism, terrorism, and the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks,” said Bates, who also said that Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) “owe Mr. Mangi an apology.”

Prominent Jewish organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League and American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists to the American Jewish Committee, had previously voiced their support for Mangi’s nomination.

Mangi is a partner at the law firm Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler and served from 2019 to 2023 as an advisory board member at Rutgers University’s Center for Security, Race and Rights. Last month Senate Judiciary Republicans launched an investigation into the Rutgers center, accusing the program of platforming “terrorist sympathizers” and making Mangi’s affiliation a centerpiece of their opposition to his nomination.

Mangi told lawmakers in a December hearing that the center’s advisory board met just once a year and that he wasn’t familiar with the events highlighted in the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel.