Three Democratic Senators Are Stuck Indulging an Outdated Fantasy

In 1999, a Florida lawyer, Anuraag Singhal, represented a man convicted of gunning down a police officer. Singhal had to somehow persuade a jury that his client, Jeffrey Lee Weaver, should face life in prison rather than the electric chair, the punishment the hard-charging prosecutor sought.

“I hope you can find some love in your heart for Jeff Weaver, and I hope you’ll let him die in prison,” Singhal said, according to a report in The Sun Sentinel, the local newspaper. The article described tears rolling down his cheeks, and his voice breaking with emotion as he pleaded for Weaver’s life. Singhal won the day. A divided jury recommended life in prison.

Singhal was clearly a very talented attorney, and a man on the rise. He would become active in conservative legal circles, joining the local chapter of the Federalist Society. In 2019, President Donald Trump appointed him to a federal judgeship in Florida. He was confirmed that December with a bipartisan Senate vote of 76 to 17. Evidently no one raised a peep about his defense of a man who killed a police officer, nor his pivotal role in reducing the man’s sentence despite Republican posturing about protecting law enforcement.

Among the Democratic senators who voted to give Singhal this lifetime appointment were three centrists who often burnish their bipartisan bona fides and tough-on-crime credentials: Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen, both of Nevada, and Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

So it is striking that these same three senators have come out publicly to announce that they will not support an eminently qualified nominee of their own party’s president after Republican senators and conservative activists smeared him, first accusing him of being an antisemite, and, when that effort fizzled in the face of staunch support from mainstream Jewish organizations, of being soft on crime and supporting cop killers.

The ostensible reason? The nominee, Adeel Abdullah Mangi, served on an advisory board of an organization that supports the families of people in prison and helps formerly incarcerated people as they try to rebuild their lives.

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