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POLITICS: White House

Senate blocks Obama's pick for civil rights post

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Politics,White House

WASHINGTON (AP) — Should a lawyer be disqualified from public service for representing a cop killer? The question has arisen after the Senate rejected President Barack Obama's candidate to be the government's chief civil rights attorney.

The White House, attorneys and civil rights groups argued that a bipartisan vote Wednesday blocking Debo Adegbile (DAY'-boh uh-DAYG'-bih-lay) from advancing toward confirmation set a troubling precedent that could dissuade lawyers with aspirations to serve in government from taking on unpopular clients or working for unpopular causes.

Adegbile spent much of his career at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, where he argued before the Supreme Court that Mumia Abu-Jamal's conviction for killing a Philadelphia policeman should be overturned because of discrimination in jury selection. Abu-Jamal is now serving a life sentence without parole.

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