Nearly 150 civil rights and progressive advocacy groups delivered letters to every U.S. senator on Thursday declaring their opposition to Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions becoming the new U.S. attorney general in the Trump administration.
“Senator Sessions has a 30-year record of racial insensitivity, bias against immigrants, disregard for the rule of law, and hostility to the protection of civil rights that makes him unfit to serve as the Attorney General of the United States,” the letters said.
In 1986, the Republican-dominated Senate Judiciary Committee voted 10-8 to reject Sessions for a federal court judgeship after allegations surfaced about his making racist and other insensitive remarks. Sessions later won election as Alabama’s attorney general, before he won Senate election in 1996.
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The groups say Sessions’ 20-year Senate record is also troubling on issues dealing with voting rights, hate crimes, LGBT rights, women’s rights and criminal justice reform.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has indicated he wants to “fast-track” Sessions’ nomination and hold hearings during the December holiday season before Trump is sworn in as president on Jan. 20.
As head of the Justice Department, Sessions’ would be sworn to enforce the nation’s laws “without prejudice and with an eye toward justice,” the letter stated.
“And, just as important, the Attorney General has to be seen by the public – every member of the public, from every community – as a fair arbiter of justice. Unfortunately, there is little in Senator Sessions’ record that demonstrates that he would meet such a standard,” the letter said.
The Trump transition team defended Sessions when he was named this month, with spokesman Jason Miller pointing out that, while U.S. attorney in Alabama, Sessions filed “a number of desegregation lawsuits,” and that he supported extending the Civil Rights Act.