Donald Trump could not have picked an attorney general with a more egregious record than Jeff Sessions, with his failure to defend the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness of all Americans.
Feminist Majority has signed onto a letter with over 200 other national civil and human rights organizations to express strong opposition against the confirmation of Senator Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. The letter, addressed to the Senate leadership in both parties, demands that Sessions be forced to explain to the American people his troubling public statements and record before being confirmed.
It is not surprising that our President-elect, who claims to have “tremendous respect for women,” selected a man who opposes equal pay protections, reproductive healthcare services and the Violence Against Women Act to be the enforcer of our country’s laws. How are women supposed to put their trust in an attorney general who doesn’t believe that being non-consensually grabbed by one’s genitals constitutes as sexual assault? These are the types of questions the Senator needs to answer in his confirmation hearing.
Then again, the last time Sessions was the subject of congressional testimony, it didn’t go very well for him… Sessions is so racist that a Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee in 1986 refused to put him up for nomination to serve as a federal judge because they did not trust that he would defend minority rights. Even thirty years ago, he had a record of opposing enforcement of civil rights laws, defending voter suppression, and repeatedly uttering racially insensitive remarks. And the man has not shown that he’s become more enlightened with age.
Despite his new boss’ baseless and untrue claim that there were millions of phony votes in the 2016 election, it appears the only person trying to rig the scales of democracy is Jeff Sessions. He supports voter ID laws that disenfranchised millions during this election cycle, called the Voting Rights Act “a piece of intrusive legislation” because it seeks to defend minority voting rights, and, in 1985, unsuccessfully prosecuted three African American activists for fraud after they registered their community members to vote.
Luckily for Sessions, he should fit in swimmingly with his white nationalist cohorts that we’ll be seeing around the West Wing, as he has closely associated himself with multiple groups aimed at protecting the “European-American majority” and has received awards from two organizations designated as anti-Muslim hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Wouldn’t want the man to feel left out! You know, like all the refugees he’s opposed to resettling.
Sessions has shown his true moral complexity by putting his detestation of drug offenders over his compassion for white nationalism. Sessions is a strong supporter of draconian (and racist) mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenders and was against the government prosecuting fewer but “more serious” drug crimes in order to alleviate the extreme overcrowding of prisons. But at least he can pretend to have the façade of intellectual consistency on this one since he called members of the Ku Klux Klan “OK until [he] found out they smoked marijuana.”
Most recently, Senator Sessions has used his national platform to condemn the Justice Department for investigating local law enforcement agencies accused of misconduct and violating civil rights. It’s a clever position to take, since ignoring civilians’ pleas for federal intervention into local law enforcement malpractices should make his job a lot easier.
Media Resources: The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights 12/01/16; Think Progress 11/15/16; Today NBC 10/26/16; AP 11/28/16; Senate Office of Jeff Sessions 10/2/15; New York Magazine 11/18/16