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Biden judicial pick imperiled after Manchin becomes second Democrat to oppose nomination

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on Thursday said he would not vote for one of President Biden’s judicial nominees, becoming the second Democratic senator to do so and likely dooming the nomination.

Manchin said he would not support Adeel Mangi, who would be the first Muslim American judge to serve on the federal appeals court if confirmed. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) previously announced her opposition to Mangi.

Manchin, who is retiring at the end of the year, told Politico this week he would not back any Biden judicial picks who didn’t garner at least one GOP vote.

Democrats hold a 51-49 majority in the Senate. With at least two Democrats opposing Mangi’s nomination, Mangi would need Republican support to be confirmed to the bench.

Biden nominated Mangi to the federal bench in November, but he has come under intense criticism from some Republicans.

In particular, Republican Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas), Josh Hawley (Mo.) and Tom Cotton (Ark.) have questioned Mangi’s views on Hamas’s attack on Israel last October, as well as his ties to Rutgers University’s Center for Security, Race and Rights.

Cruz has highlighted the Rutgers center’s comments in support of Palestinians and has argued Mangi is opposed by certain police groups.

The White House has argued the attacks on Mangi are a result of Islamophobia. Seven law enforcement groups backed Mangi’s confirmation, and the Anti-Defamation League also voiced its support.

“Mr. Mangi, who has lived the American Dream and proven his integrity, is being targeted by a malicious and debunked smear campaign solely because he would make history as the first Muslim to serve as a federal appellate judge,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Wednesday. “Senate Democrats should side with the qualities that make America exceptional, which Mr. Mangi embodies, not the hateful forces trying to force America into the past.”

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