Donald Trump’s pick for attorney general is Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions. Why should this terrify you? Let’s take a look at his abhorrent record:
1. He’s fine with the K.K.K.--but not the N.A.A.C.P.
In 1986, Senate refused to confirm Reagan's appointment of Jeff Sessions as a district court judge due to Sessions’s virulent racist beliefs. The New York Times reports that, in sworn testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, it was revealed that Sessions “had referred to the N.A.A.C.P. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (founded by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) as “un-American” and “Communist inspired.” He had joked that he thought the Ku Klux Klan was “O.K.” until he discovered some of its members smoked pot, and had accused a white attorney who supported voting rights of being "a race traitor.”
2. He used his time as Alabama attorney general to uphold laws that reinforced inequality in the state’s public school system.
The New York Times reports that when Sessions assumed the judgeship in 1994, “Alabama’s wealthiest school district...spent nearly twice as much per student as the state’s poorest.” Many of the schools were so underfunded that they were unable to meet the needs of disabled students, which is required under federal law. With the help of the ACLU, disability rights groups, and civil rights organizations, the thirty poorest school districts filed a suit against the state--and won. What does this have to do with Jeff Sessions, you ask? He adamantly opposed the ruling, lifting the office’s $85/hour fee cap so that he could pay the contract lawyers he hired to challenge the case extra.
3. He has used his Senate position to oppose measures that would help survivors of domestic violence.
In 2013, he voted against the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. 'Nuff said.
4. He opposes the Voting Rights Act.
He called the Act--one of the greatest achievements of the Civil Rights movement--a “piece of intrusive legislation.”
5. He is anti-immigrant.
In the words of Frank Sharry, founder of pro-immigrant reform group America’s Voice: "Sessions is the most anti-immigrant senator in the chamber. He enjoys that distinction without much competition."
The Justice Department--which the attorney general presides over--is tasked with enforcing the nation’s civil rights laws, laws intended to ensure “that Americans’ rights are protected regardless of race, religion, disability, or gender.” Jeff Sessions’s political career makes it painfully clear that he has no interest in defending those rights.
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