Biden resists pulling controversial judicial nominee Adeel Mangi despite Democrat defectors


The White House is not taking any cues from Republicans who have advised President Biden to withdraw a controversial judicial nomination.

Instead, it’s digging in its heels to lobby Democratic senators to support Adeel Mangi for the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals. 

A White House official updated Fox News Digital on the status of Mangi’s nomination, which has been scrutinized over his ties to two groups, one accused of antisemitism and another that has supported “cop killers,” as Republican critics have alleged. 

Biden is not considering withdrawing the judicial nomination despite a call from Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. 

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President Biden is digging in his heels and not backpedaling on controversial judicial nominee Adeel Mangi.  (Getty Images)

Mangi served on the board of advisers for the Rutgers University Center for Security, Race and Rights (CSRR) from 2019 to 2023. The center has been accused by Republicans of antisemitism due to its sponsored events and speakers. One such event was held on the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and featured controversial speakers like Hatem Bazian, who in 2004 called for an “intifada,” according to video from an anti-war protest in San Francisco, and Sami Al-Arian.

In 2006, Al-Arian pleaded guilty to “conspiring to provide services to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” according to the Justice Department. 

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Noura Erakat, who had previously been advertised as a panelist for a separate event alongside Hamas commander Ghazi Hamad, was also hosted at a CSRR event. 

The Alliance of Families for Justice (AFJ), whose founding board member, Kathy Boudin, pleaded guilty to the felony murder of two police officers in 1981 after they died following an armored truck robbery, features Mangi as a current advisory board member. The robbery was carried out by Boudin’s group, the Weather Underground Organization, which was recognized as a domestic terrorist organization by the FBI. 

Neither the CSRR nor AFJ provided comments to Fox News Digital. 

Mangi is tied to groups accused of being antisemitic and anti-law enforcement. (Getty Images )

As pressure has been applied by Republican lawmakers and an ad campaign from Judicial Crisis Network targets vulnerable Senate Democrats, Biden’s nominee has begun to lose support from his party. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., and Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., have come out publicly against Mangi, citing his AFJ affiliation. 

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has also complicated the nomination by claiming he won’t support anyone who can’t garner at least one Republican supporter. 

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“The opposition to Adeel Mangi — in and outside the Senate — is growing by the day,” a spokesperson for the Senate Judiciary Republicans told Fox News Digital in a statement. 

“It’s clear the math is not there for the White House,” the statement added, calling Biden’s decision not to withdraw Mangi’s nomination “puzzling indeed.”

White House spokesperson Andrew Bates pushed back in a statement to Fox News Digital. 

“President Biden is proud to have chosen Adeel Mangi,” he said, calling Mangi “an extraordinarily qualified nominee” and noting he “would make history on the bench” as the first Muslim in such a position.

Cortez Masto said she won’t support Mangi. (Tierney L. Cross/Bloomberg via Getty Images I Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images | Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

“The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved Mr. Mangi’s nomination, and the rest of the Senate should side with what makes America the greatest nation on Earth and support him, not cave to vicious, undignified attempts to drag America into the past,” Bates added. 

White House chief of staff Jeff Zients, White House Director of Legislative Affairs Shuwanza Goff, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of the Office of Legislative Affairs Ali Nouri, White House Counsel Ed Siskel and White House senior counsel in charge of nominations Phil Brest, continue to press senators to support Mangi, who would be the first Muslim federal appellate court judge, a White House official revealed. 

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Through these officials, the White House is persisting and pushing back on the concerns over Mangi’s two group affiliations in question, telling senators they are false and a smear campaign. They are also reiterating to lawmakers that the nominee is qualified for the role. 

Senate Judiciary Chariman Dick Durbin, D-Ill., will also keep up pressure on his colleagues to support Mangi and dismiss what he also considers to be a smear campaign. 

“The treatment of this nominee before the Senate Judiciary Committee has reached a new low in many ways,” he said in a recent speech on the chamber floor, insinuating Mangi’s status as a Muslim is the reason for opposition to his confirmation.

Durbin is continuing to push Mangi’s confirmation. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

If Biden does not withdraw Mangi’s nomination and it is not scheduled for a confirmation vote in 2024, the nomination will expire on its own. In this case, he would need to be nominated again in the next Congress. 

The nomination has not yet been scheduled for a vote by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who has noted his own support for Mangi but hasn’t given any indication whether he plans to schedule a vote. 

Republican strategist Ron Bonjean, a former spokesman to Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and former chief of staff of the Senate Republican Conference, said it was “unlikely” Mangi’s nomination survives a Senate confirmation. 

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“The White House has not put up an aggressive defense of Mangi, which is really sending my message that he should withdraw [on] his own,” said Bonjean, who also ran communications for the Senate confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. “Unless the Biden administration changes its strategy, the Mangi nomination is dead in the water.”

Mangi did not provide comment to Fox News Digital.



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