Bipartisan Senate opposition blocked swift confirmation Wednesday for President Barack Obama's choice to head the Justice Department's Civil Rights division, the emotional residue of the 1981 murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner and the legal representation his killer received, WPVI-TV reports.

Obama swiftly condemned the vote. In a statement, he called it a "travesty based on wildly unfair character attacks against a good and qualified public servant."

Administration officials declined to say if they would seek a second vote in the hopes they could change the minds of a few Democrats, although Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., is positioned to call for one.

The vote was a victory for Republicans and the National Fraternal Order of Police, who said Adegbile's connection with the legal case of Mumia Abu-Jamal disqualified him from holding high public office.

Shortly before the vote, Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., read from a letter written by Maureen Faulkner, the widow of the policeman Abu-Jamal was convicted of killing.

 

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