Islamophobic Line of Questioning at Confirmation Hearing

He has been called a “preeminent litigator with a brilliant legal mind…. His accomplished record of appellate advocacy, combined with his steadfast commitment to serving vulnerable, voiceless clients pro bono, demonstrates his dedication to the cause of justice.”

He was named a 2023 National Law Journal General Litigation Trailblazer and was recognized by the BTI Consulting Group as one of the attorneys who “stand above all the others in delivering the absolute best in client service.”

He achieved a place on Benchmark Litigation’s 2024 and 2023 lists of the “Top 100 Trial Lawyers” in the U.S., which consists of “partners who have been venerated by peers and clients as being the best in breed at the nuanced practice of trial law . . . based on an intensive peer-and-client review.”

With such impeccable credentials, it’s no wonder that the President of the United States nominated him to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit this November.  He would appear to be a shoo-in for the job.

Why then have several senators taken to grilling him with inappropriate questions about his character, his patriotism and his views on Israel, terrorism and antisemitism?

Possibly because Adeel Mangi is Muslim.

He would be the first of his faith to serve on a federal appellate court.

Senators Ted Cruz of Texas, Josh Hawley of Missouri and Tom Cotton of Arkansas interrogated him again and again on questions he had already long-since answered on the subjects.

The confirmation process-turned-interrogation appalled at least 15 Jewish organizations who could not remain silent about the spectacle.

The American Jewish Committee in a Dec. 21 statement called on the Senate to disregard the “untoward implications” in the abusive line of questioning. A separate Dec. 18 letter on the letterhead of the National Council of Jewish Women endorsed Mangi. Both groups have partnered in the past with Mangi in civil rights-related Supreme Court amicus briefs.

“Mangi was questioned aggressively on thin pretext about his views on Israel, terrorism, and antisemitism,” the AJC statement said.

“We expect that senators will disregard the untoward implications underlying that unnecessary and unhelpful line of questioning,” it said. “Elected officials should take a leadership role in calming the fears of and against American religious minorities, such as Jews and Muslims, not stoke them.”

The NCJW-led letter was signed by, among other groups, Zioness, a pro-Israel women’s group; Bend the Arc: Jewish Action, a social justice advocacy group, and Jewish Women International.

The letter began with “we wholeheartedly support Adeel Mangi for the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Last week, Adeel Mangi was subjected to hostile and Islamophobic questioning during his confirmation hearing. There is no place for such vitriol in our court nomination process, especially by elected leaders.”

The letter continued, “Having ethical and unbiased judges is ingrained in our Jewish teachings in which we are taught that ‘judges need to be people of strength through good deeds.’ It is clear to us that Adeel A. Mangi is a person of strength and good deeds, as evidenced by his career, devotion to his community, and commitment to religious freedom and civil rights.”

It is unclear at this writing whether Mr. Mangi will be confirmed or not, which depends on whether the vitriol poured on his achievements because of his faith will have an effect on the vote or not. What is crystal clear is exactly who and what those vitriol-pourers are.

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