It was November 18, 2016, when then President-elect Donald Trump announced that he would nominate to the position of United States Attorney General the longtime Republican senator and former Alabama attorney general Jefferson Beauregard Sessions. Just like with all other nominees of Trump’s cabinet, Sessions’s nomination was met with condemnation from Democrats and from civil rights activists.
His voting record on civil rights issues is most alarming, therefore conservatives tried to paint his attitude toward civil rights as warmer than it actually was. Conservative media like National Review and Fox News claimed that Sessions has stood up for the rights of all people as guaranteed by the law. During questioning conducted in his congressional hearings by fellow Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.), he claimed that he filed “20 or 30 desegregation cases” during his time as the Attorney General of Alabama. As Franken followed the line of questioning to its conclusion it became clear that Sessions’s involvement with those desegregation cases was nothing more than mere signatures on paperwork. Furthermore, when asked about his position on the white Christian hate group of the Ku Klux Klan, he stated that “I [Sessions] abhor the Klan. I worked to obtain the successful capital prosecution of the head of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan.” News flash, folks. Hating the Ku Klux Klan is not a great achievement. If one is truly a worthy nominee for attorney general, vowing to protect the rights of all Americans regardless of differences, then hating a group as virulent and as hateful as the Klan is a requirement that one should be indoctrinated into believing from the earliest age possible.
The story even gets better when you hear the Sessions story of the 1980s. Back in 1986, Jeff Sessions was rejected by a Republican-led Senate Judiciary Committee for a federal judgeship over accusations of being a racist. He was rejected by a committee with members of his own party, who tend to hold less savory views on civil rights than the Democrats, and he was deemed “too racist” to be a judge from Alabama, a state with a known history of racist laws. His nomination was opposed by minority interest groups like the NAACP and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, putting to rest any claims that Jeff Sessions is not a stark raving racist. The evidence points all to him being a politician with racist views in line with other famous Alabama politicians such as George Wallace and Bull Connor, both of whom advocated segregationist views on race relations.
Finally, the Sessions debacle has revealed that he committed an act of perjury by not revealing that he had communications with the Russian ambassador soon after the election. Even Republicans turned against him, finally forcing him to recuse himself from any ongoing and future investigations into Russian election-rigging that may have taken place. For someone who prides himself on being devoted to the law, and especially for someone who advocated for the presence of a special prosecutor when Bill Clinton was charged with perjury, such a move is truly hypocritical. There are too many unsavory characteristics of the Sessions, and if the Republican Party and Congress had any spine to put country before party and protect the rights of all citizens, they would force Jeff Sessions to resign just as Democrats now demand.