The Senate Judiciary Committee’s vote to confirm Jeff Sessions as Attorney General is a dereliction of its duty to uphold the Constitution. Sessions has been called the intellectual godfather of Donald Trump’s policies, and his fingerprints are all over Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant, anti-refugee executive orders, including his notorious Muslim ban. One of Jeff Sessions’ top aides, Stephen Miller, is now Bannon’s lieutenant in drafting Trump’s executive orders.
Jeff Sessions has a decades-long history of racist voter suppression as well as hostility to the rights of women, people of color, victims of domestic and sexual violence, and other marginalized populations. In light of that, we have no confidence that, if allowed to become Attorney General, Sessions would fulfill his obligation to stand up for the Constitution against illegal or unconstitutional executive action such as Trump’s Muslim ban. For that reason alone, the full Senate has a duty to reject Jeff Sessions’ nomination to hold the highest law enforcement position in the nation.
But there’s more. When asked about the 2005 audio recording of Donald Trump bragging about grabbing women by the genitals, Jeff Sessions said the behavior was not necessarily sexual assault. “I think that’s a stretch,” he said. In the Senate, Sessions voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and opposed including rape in the Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes bill.
He voted against expanding the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) and on adding 2 to 4 million children to SCHIP eligibility. And he voted for an amendment to remove pregnant women from SCHIP and instead give coverage to the fetus.
The Department of Justice needs a leader who will advance the rights of women, people of color, LGBTQIA individuals and people with disabilities. We are all too familiar with the dissembling of Trump’s people, so Sessions’s verbal claims denying his allegiance to a white male supremacist agenda are unconvincing. He needs to be kept as far away from the Department of Justice as possible.
NOW leaders and activists are working with our allies at the grassroots level to stop Sessions from taking over as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer. We have a message for any Senator–Republican or Democrat–who supports this nomination: If you vote him in, we will make it our business to vote you out.
M.E. Ficarra , email@example.com