Oppose Jeff Sessions for U.S. Attorney General
The Honorable Chuck Grassley, Chairman
The Honorable Patrick Leahy, Ranking Member
The United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary
135 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Dear Senators Grassley and Leahy:
I am writing to ask you to oppose the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General.
Contrary to public statements promoting Sen. Session’s purported civil rights record, in fact Sen. Sessions has problematic history of attacking civil rights groups and those fighting for civil rights. His record is distressing:
While serving as U.S Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama in 1985, he prosecuted three civil rights workers — including Albert Turner, a former aide to Martin Luther King Jr., — on trumped up charges of voter fraud.
During his career in Alabama, Sessions reportedly called the NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union as “un-American” and “communist-inspired” for (according to Sessions) having “forced civil rights down the throats of people.”
According to a Justice Department official who worked with Sessions, attorney referred to another white attorney as a “disgrace to his race” for litigating voting rights cases on behalf of African Americans.
As reported by colleagues of former assistant U.S. Attorney in Alabama Thomas Figures, Sessions joked during a 1981 murder investigation of the Ku Klux Klan that he “used to think they [the Klan] were OK” until he found out some of them were “pot smokers” — a remark Sessions later acknowledged as a joke.
A 2000 story in The Nation writes: “Since his election as a senator, Sessions has not done much to make amends for his past racial insensitivity. His voting record in the Senate has earned him consistent “F”s from the NAACP. He supported an ultimately unsuccessful effort to end affirmative action programs in the federal government (a measure so extreme that many conservatives were against it), he opposed hate-crimes laws, and he opposed a motion to investigate the disproportionate number of minorities in juvenile detention centers.”
Sessions’ service on the Senate Judiciary Committee has included his support of dubious judicial nominees such as Charles Pickering, who in 1959 wrote a paper in favor of anti-miscegenation laws (Sessions characterized Pickering as “a leader for racial harmony”), and Judge Dennis Shedd, who dismissed every fair-employment civil rights case brought before him as federal district court judge.
Americans count on the U.S. Attorney General’s Office to protect hard-fought civil rights embodied by the United States Constitution. Please do not roll back these gains; please do not confirm Sen. Sessions for U.S. Attorney.