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By Felicia J. Persaud

News Americas, FORT LAUDERDALE, Fl, Fri. April 5, 2024: In case you missed it, Pakistan-born immigrant and attorney, Adeel Abdullah Mangi, could make US history and become the first Muslim-American to serve as a federal appellate court judge – if he is ever confirmed by the Senate.

Adeel Abdullah Mangi
Adeel Abdullah Mangi, United States circuit judge for the third circuit nominee for US President Joe Biden, speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee nomination hearing in Washington, DC, US, on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2023. Photographer: Tierney L. Cross/Bloomberg via Getty Images

To date, what has played out in the Senate, including from White, Christian Democratic senators, is nothing short of Islamophobia; a dangerous weapon being wielded by mainly White politicians against a man who is embodies the true immigrant story.

Mangi is just 47. He was born in Karachi, Pakistan before moving to the US 20 years ago and settling in New Jersey. Mangi came with a First Class degree in law from the University of Oxford, Pembroke College and a Postgraduate diploma in Professional Legal Skills from the City University London Inns of Court School of Law in 1999. He received a Master of Laws from Harvard Law School in 2000.

Mangi began his career in law in the US as an associate at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler in New York City in 2000; becoming counsel in 2009. He was elevated to partnership in 2010.

Mangi has litigated a number of religious discrimination cases, including winning permits for two mosques after local New Jersey governments in Bayonne and Bernards Township refused to permit the construction of mosques. The case against Bernards was settled for $3.25 million and a permit. The case against Bayonne settled for $400,000 and a permit.

In a 2020 lawsuit Mangi litigated, the state of New York agreed to install cameras and microphones at Sullivan Correctional Facility after a mentally ill Black inmate there died after being beaten by white correctional officers.

Last November, he was nominated by President Joseph Biden to serve as a United States circuit judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Mangi, who has unequivocally denounced any acts of anti-Semitism or bigotry, and is supported by many Jewish organizations, including the American Jewish Committee, the National Council for Jewish Women, has been subjected to irrelevant, combative lines of questioning by multiple Senate Judiciary Committee lawmakers about the Israel-Hamas war.

He has even been shockingly asked whether he celebrated the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The attack on a man who is an archetypical candidate for a federal judgeship and would bring needed diversity to fill the vacancy on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Adeel Abdullah Mangi has a sterling legal education, which he followed with a distinguished career at a high-profile private firm mixing corporate litigation with important pro bono work. He also has a classic American story: He grew up in a poor country dreaming of a career as a lawyer and immigrated to the United States, where he ascended to the heights of his profession.

None of the Senators can question his legal background or judicial philosophy. So they have taken to questioning his stance on Hamas.

“Do you condemn the atrocities of Hamas terrorists?” Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas demanded of Mangi, a Pakistani American with no connection to Hamas or Palestine other than the fact that he is Muslim, along with 1.8 billion people across the globe.

A Senate panel advanced his nomination on a party-line 11-10 vote in January, after Sen. Dick Durbin, the committee’s Democratic chairman, castigated Republicans for what he called a “new low” of attacks against a nominee driven by bias against his religion.

“What is it about Adeel Mangi that attracts such criticism? We know what the starting point is: He would be the first Muslim American to be appointed to serve on the circuit bench,” Durbin said then.

White House spokesperson Andrew Bates slammed the attack by Republican senators as “vile, unconscionable smears” and “hateful and undignified attacks.”

Now Durbin, Bates and President Biden are facing opposition from those in their own party. Sen. Joe Manchin has now said, out of the blue, that from now on, he will only vote to confirm nominees who have the support of at least one Republican senator and since Mangi does not, he will vote against his nomination.

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, another Democrat of Nevada, announced her opposition to Mangi, saying the Black inmate whose family he represented after he was beaten by white correctional officers, actually killed a cop.

But as PBS News pointed out, the Senate has confirmed many other attorneys as justices in the past, some who even represented a murderer of cops. The difference, however, was they were Christians.

And therein lies the issue at the crux of this case. As long as you are a brown, immigrant and a Muslim, you must be a terrorist, aka “Hamas.” Record and education be damned.

Felicia J. Persaud is the publisher of NewsAmericasNow.com, a daily news outlet focusing on Black immigrant issues.

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