While the United States issues repeated condemnations this week against Russian President Vladimir Putin for his aggressive actions in the Ukraine, it would have been fitting if he gave the U.S. a taste of its own medicine by firing back at the Senate for disavowing one of the fundamental aspects of our U.S. Constitution in the vote to deny Debo Adegbile an opportunity to serve the nation.
American politicians — Democrats and Republicans alike — love to chastise nations such as Russia, China, Venezuela, Cuba, Iran and others for denying its citizens the general rights that our democracy affords our people. Yet time after time, we see examples of where American elected officials show that we are just as ruthless and shameful as those who we oppose.
This week, the United States Senate absolutely disavowed and thumbed its nose to our Founding Fathers and one of the most important parts the U.S. Constitution — the Sixth Amendment — when it voted down Adegbile as the next assistant attorney general of the Department of Justice.
What angered 52 members of the U.S. Senate, including seven Democrats? The fact that as head of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Adegbile supported the appeal of Mumia Abu Jamal, a Philadelphia man convicted of killing a city police officer, when he was appealing his death row sentence.
Was Adegbile Jamal’s attorney? No. Did he ever stand in front of a court and argue on behalf of Jamal? Nope. Did he finance Jamal’s legal fight? Not at all. What was Adegbile’s crime, according to 52 United States Senators? He dared follow the U.S. Constitution, which, according to the Sixth Amendment, guarantees any defendant the right to legal counsel.
The Sixth Amendment reads: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.”
Roland S. Martin is senior political analyst for TV One and author of the book “The First: President Barack Obama’s Road to the White House as Originally Reported by Roland S. Martin.” Please visit his website at http://www.RolandSMartin.com. To find out more about Roland S. Martin and read his past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at http://www.creators.com.