Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Troubling History of America's Attorney General-Designate

By Leland Ware

Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, who has been nominated to serve as Attorney General, should not be confirmed. He has a history of making questionable, racially-tinged remarks that reflect an attitude that has no place in an agency responsible for enforcing equal protection of the laws. Sessions’ statements about race resulted in the denial a federal judge position in 1986 after a series of hearings found his racial views too questionable.

Sessions called the NAACP and ALCU "un-American" and "communist-inspired" for "trying to force civil rights down the throats of people." He said a white lawyer was a “disgrace to his race” for representing a black client. He allegedly "used to think that [the KKK] were OK" until he learned that some of the members were "pot smokers." Sessions allegedly warned a black lawyer to "be careful what you say to white folks," calling him "boy." Colleagues claimed Sessions used the n-word. He called the Voting Rights Act a "piece of intrusive legislation."

I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, in the 1960s when remarks like these were commonplace. Many people and every African American knows what kind of person makes such statements. These comments cannot be brushed off as something that happened a long time ago. After the judgeship fiasco, Sessions went on to become Alabama’s attorney general and later U.S. senator. In those roles, he has fought vigorously against advances for racial equality, women’s rights, due process for immigrants, and voting rights.

At a time of unprecedented racial tension and polarization, Sessions’ appointment would send a strong and unmistakable message to world. He should not be confirmed.

For media stories about Sessions’ racial attitudes see:


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