In a stunning vote, a group of U.S. Senate Democrats has broken ranks to join Republicans in rejecting President Obama’s pick to head the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Debo Adegbile. The confirmation fight focused almost solely on Adegbile’s role in the legal defense of imprisoned Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted of killing a Philadelphia police officer, despite Abu-Jamal’s longstanding position of being not guilty. Adegbile was part of a team of lawyers at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund who successfully argued the trial judge’s jury instructions violated Abu-Jamal’s rights. Adegbile’s supporters say the attacks on him mark a new form of Willie Horton politics and race baiting. We discuss the controversy with two guests: Johanna Fernández, professor of history at Baruch College-CUNY and a coordinator with the Campaign to Bring Mumia Home, and Ryan Haygood, director of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund’s Political Participation Group.