Judicial appointments have always been a political battlefield, but the battle over Biden’s nomination of Adeel Mangi is becoming especially contentious. With opposition from Manchin and Cortez Masto, the historic possibility of the first Muslim American federal appellate judge is on the brink.

Mangi’s background and views have come under intense scrutiny from some Republican senators, while the White House decries the campaign against him as Islamophobic. The stakes are high on both sides, with Democrats’ thin Senate majority meaning bipartisan support is needed for confirmation.

Manchin Opposes Biden’s Nomination of Adeel Mangi

As one of the most moderate Democrats in the Senate and a key vote, Senator Joe Manchin’s opposition to Adeel Mangi is a huge blow to the Biden administration.

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Manchin has said he won’t support any judicial nominee that doesn’t have bipartisan support, and with at least one Republican senator also opposing Mangi, his nomination now seems doomed.

Biden’s ‘Living the American Dream’ Nominee

The White House has called the attacks on Mangi “a malicious and debunked smear campaign” and said he’s “living the American Dream.”

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As the first Muslim American appeals court judge, Mangi’s nomination was historic. However, some Republicans like Ted Cruz and Tom Cotton have criticized Mangi’s views on Israel and Hamas, as well as his ties to Rutgers University’s Center for Security, Race, and Rights.

Moderate Democrats Hold Power

Manchin’s opposition highlights the power that moderate Democrats like him and Senator Kyrsten Sinema wield in the Senate.

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With the chamber split 50-50, their votes are essential to Biden’s agenda. By insisting on bipartisan support for judicial nominees, Manchin forces the White House to nominate more centrist judges or see their nominations stall.

An Uncertain Path Forward

At this point, Mangi’s path to confirmation seems narrow without a change of heart from Manchin or other Republicans. The White House will have to decide whether to pull Mangi’s nomination to avoid an embarrassing defeat or keep lobbying senators to find the votes.

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If they stick with Mangi, his nomination may come down to a single senator changing their mind. For a historic nomination, the uncertainty is disheartening for many.

Mangi Would Be the First Muslim American Federal Appeals Judge

As Biden’s presidential nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Adeel Mangi has faced intense scrutiny.

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If confirmed, Mangi would make history as the first Muslim American judge on a federal appeals court. However, some Republican senators have voiced concerns over Mangi’s views and associations.

Support For Mangi’s Nomination

The White House and advocacy groups argue that opposition to Mangi is rooted in Islamophobia.

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They point out that Mangi is an accomplished attorney with experience in both private practice and government service. Seven major law enforcement organizations, as well as the Anti-Defamation League, have endorsed Mangi.

Republican Senators Voice Strong Opposition to Mangi

Several prominent Republican senators have come out swinging against Mangi’s nomination. Senators Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, and Tom Cotton, in particular, have been vocal in their opposition, arguing that Mangi holds extreme views.

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Specifically, they claim Mangi supports Hamas, the Palestinian militant group, based on comments he made regarding Israel’s actions during clashes in Gaza.

Critics Question Mangi’s Views on Hamas

Certain senators have criticized Mangi for comments Rutgers Center made in support of Palestinians during clashes between Israel and Hamas.

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However, Mangi himself did not make these comments. The White House argues these senators are making unfounded assumptions based on Mangi’s religion and ethnicity.

Mangi’s Ties to Rutgers Center Questioned

Republican Sens. Cruz, Hawley, and Cotton have also questioned Mangi’s ties to the Rutgers Center, claiming the center has made comments supporting Palestinian rights that some consider anti-Israel.

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However, the center focuses on national security and civil rights issues, not the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Mangi serves on an advisory board for the center but does not determine its policy positions or public statements.

Support From Law Enforcement

While some police groups oppose Mangi’s nomination, seven major law enforcement organizations have endorsed him.

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The Fraternal Order of Police, National Association of Police Organizations, and National Sheriffs’ Association are among the groups backing Mangi. Mangi also has the support of the Anti-Defamation League, which combats anti-Semitism.

Dem Opposition Imperils Nomination

With Democrats Catherine Cortez Masto and Joe Manchin opposing his nomination, Mangi needs Republican support to be confirmed. Manchin said he would not vote for any Biden judicial pick that does not get at least one GOP vote.

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The White House will have to lobby Republican senators intensely if Mangi’s historic nomination is to succeed.

A Setback for Representation

If Mangi’s nomination fails, it will be a blow to Muslim representation in the judiciary. Mangi would have been the first Muslim American judge on the federal appeals court. His nomination was hailed as an important step in reflecting the diversity of America.

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With Manchin and Cortez Masto opposed, Mangi’s confirmation is now improbable, delaying this historic first.

Biden Urged to Pick Nominee That Can Garner Bipartisan Support

With the Senate split so closely along partisan lines, any nominee needs nearly every Democrat on board to be confirmed. 

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Biden should keep this political reality in mind with future nominations and consider candidates with centrist records and views that could win over some Republicans.

What happens if a nominee is not confirmed?

If the Senate rejects a nominee or takes no action, the nomination is returned to the President. The President can then nominate a new candidate to fill the vacancy.

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The process repeats until a nominee wins confirmation or a new President takes office.