Adeel Mangi, Islamophobic

Former Bush-Appointed Federal Judge Defends Adeel Mangi Amid Islamophobic Attacks

Despite Mangi receiving praise from more than 15 Jewish groups for his legal and pro bono work, the AFL-CIO, the Coalition of Underrepresented Lawyers, and being rated as unanimously well-qualified by the American Bar Association, he has been under relentless attack from Republican senators and groups like the Judicial Crisis Network.

Former Federal Judge Timothy Lewis, an appointee of President George H.W. Bush, reached out to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell over concerns about how President Biden’s judicial nominee was being treated by members of the GOP and a right-wing “judicial advocacy group.”

The group, the Judicial Crisis Network, also led a smear campaign against Ketanji Brown Jackson during her nomination to the Supreme Court. Lewis, who is Black, sent a letter to each of the two men condemning the attacks on the character and person of Adeel Mangi, a Muslim. As The Huffington Post reported, Lewis believes his faith is why he is receiving such vitriol from the Republican Party.

“I have been deeply disturbed by the unfounded and disturbing attacks against Adeel Mangi, and I strongly support his nomination,” the letter reads. “This is a nominee who should — and ordinarily would — have widespread bipartisan support,” Lewis wrote. “Instead, he is being subjected to attacks against his character. His accusers claim he supports terrorism and is anti-Semitic. Those allegations are absolutely unfounded.”

In addition to the attacks from Republicans, CNN reported that Mangi’s support from the Democratic Party has also been questionable. If confirmed, Mangi would become the first ever appeals court judge who is a Muslim. Lewis, at the time of his own nomination in 1992 to the same U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, made history as one of two Black judges nominated by Bush alongside Clarence Thomas. 

Despite Mangi receiving praise from more than 15 Jewish groups for his legal and pro bono work, the AFL-CIO, the Coalition of Underrepresented Lawyers, and being rated as unanimously well-qualified by the American Bar Association, the 47-year-old lawyer who has practiced law for 23 years, has been under relentless attack from Republican senators and groups like the Judicial Crisis Network. The latter, as Huffington Post reports, has unfoundedly accused Mangi of teaching students “to hate Israel, to hate America and to support global terrorism,” as well as being both a “radical” and “anti-Semite.”

The National Council of Jewish Women’s CEO Sheila Katz released a statement calling the attacks Islamophobic and voicing unequivocal support for Mangi’s nomination.

“Mr. Mangi has been the target of unfounded, Islamophobic attacks questioning his loyalty to America, accusing him of antisemitism, and whether he can be an impartial federal judge as a result of his faith. Those questioning him claim to bring these concerns on behalf of the Jewish community.”

Katz and the NCJW continued, “Let us be clear: National Council of Jewish Women, a 130-year-old legacy civil rights organization, and the leading Jewish organization working on the federal courts, unequivocally denounce the Islamophobia attacks on Mr. Mangi and fully support his nomination.”

Lewis contrasts the experience of Mangi with his own during the course of his letter, writing, “I cannot help but contrast Mr. Mangi’s experience as a nominee with my own,” Lewis said. ”I was treated with respect not just by senators of the party of the president who nominated me but also by the Democratic senators who held the majority. I was confirmed by unanimous consent less than a month before Election Day.”

Lewis believes that a rejection of Mangi in this manner would have disastrous effects on the federal judiciary, saying that the attacks could lead those from underrepresented backgrounds to “think twice” about accepting nominations in the future because of fears of this kind of unfounded mistreatment. 

Lewis’s letter is rare, and he explains what compelled him to send a letter to representatives of both parties in the Senate, saying that the attacks on Mangi are a smear campaign. “Unfortunately, there is a constituency in this current politicized environment for such a smear campaign directed at someone who would become the first Muslim American ever to serve on a federal appellate court,” Lewis wrote. “But this is not a constituency whose fears and ignorance any United States senator should entertain, let alone advance.”

Senator Cory Booker, recommended that Mangi be nominated by the White House, and claims the Biden-Harris Administration are both in support of Mangi. The former released a statement condemning the attacks faced by Mangi during this process.

“Since his nomination, Adeel Mangi has been subjected to an outrageous and unrelenting campaign of ugly, untrue Islamophobic smears,” Booker said. “I know the White House, Senate Democratic leaders, and I stand behind Adeel Mangi 100 percent and look forward to the confirmation of America’s first Muslim federal appeals court judge.”

The White House, through its spokesperson Andrew Bates, released a statement in support of Mangi as well, which indicates that the White House has been lobbying members of the Senate to not bow to bigotry and hatred.

“Mr. Mangi was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the White House continues to fight for his confirmation and to repudiate the vicious hate and bigotry with which he has been targeted because of his Muslim faith,” Bates said. “Senior staff are calling members on his behalf every day, and no senator should cave to hateful, undignified lies.”