Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) is Trump’s pick for attorney general. The U.S. attorney general is generally someone who not only knows what’s legal and illegal but also knows what’s right and what’s wrong. Sessions doesn’t know right from wrong, at least insofar as civil rights goes. He’s desperate to change his image as a racist prick, but real civil rights lawyers aren’t having any of it.
He’s even cited civil rights cases that he supposedly worked on, but it turns out, all of that is a bald-faced lie. Several attorneys who have fought long and hard for true civil rights penned an op-ed, which appeared in the Washington Post, denouncing Sessions for pretending to be a civil rights champion.
Actually, they didn’t just denounce him, they annihilated him for it. Right off the bat, they said:
“Attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions is trying to mislead his Senate colleagues, and the country, into believing he is a champion for civil rights. We are former Justice Department civil rights lawyers who worked on the civil rights cases that Sessions cites as evidence for this claim, so we know: The record isn’t Sessions’ to burnish. We won’t let the nominee misstate his civil rights history to get the job of the nation’s chief law enforcement officer.”
Sessions had to fill out a questionnaire and file it with the Senate Judiciary Committee. In that questionnaire, he listed four cases that he claims he personally litigated as Alabama’s attorney general in the 1980s. After receiving backlash for that lie, he then tried to claim he provided “assistance and guidance on these cases.”
One of the examples these lawyers give to show Sessions is trying exaggerating his record on civil rights: Sessions supported reauthorizing the Voting Rights act ten years ago, and he’s promoting that as solid evidence that he’s a civil rights champ.
The truth there is that the reauthorization passed the Senate by a vote of 98-0. As such, there was no feat of courage involved in supporting that reauthorization. It would mean a lot more if he’d supported it with significant opposition from his own party. Then he celebrated the Supreme Court’s decision to gut the Voting Rights Act, which led to Southern states working their tails off to keep minorities from voting.
Sessions also once lost out on a judgeship because of his racism. In 1986, the state of Alabama turned him down for a position as a judge after he called a black lawyer “boy.” He supposedly also told another attorney to “be careful what you say to white folks.” He also denigrated both the ACLU and the NAACP as “un-American” organizations that were inspired by Communists.
Because equality is totally a communist trait.
The NAACP has actually been protesting his nomination as Attorney General, and several got arrested for doing so. For as “not-racist” as Sessions supposedly is, one would think he’d yell at anyone who arrested peaceful protesters who were just speaking out about racial inequality.
Instead, these protesters face charges of criminal trespass.
The civil rights attorneys that actually know what they’re talking about say that Sessions’ “involvement” in the cases they themselves litigated is limited to his signing a complaint and maybe a few briefs. He didn’t personally litigate anything, and if he had, he probably would have done so with an eye towards, “Black people bring this on themselves because they’re black.”
In fact, they end their op-ed with:
“Sessions has not worked to protect civil rights. He worked against civil rights at every turn. Sessions knows that his real record on race and civil rights is harmful to his chances for confirmation. So he has made up a fake one. But many of us who were there — in Alabama in the 1980s, 1990s and beyond — are still around. We lived that story, too. And we are here to testify that Sessions has done many things throughout his 40-year career. Protecting civil rights has not been one of them.”
Both Sessions and Trump probably think that Congress will buy their revisionist history. To them, equality doesn’t matter – in their view, white people rule and everyone else drools. There’s a reason white supremacists are thrilled with Trump’s election win, and this is it. Jeff Sessions doesn’t give a flying fuck about civil rights. He doesn’t know a thing about litigating civil rights cases. He’ll make a shitty attorney general, and will only help Trump further his agenda of setting this country back 75 years.
Featured image via Kevin Hagen/Getty Images