The American Right’s capacity for rolling back the clock on progress and retrieving hateful ideas and prejudices from the ash heap of history never ceases to amaze. Just when you thought the march of time and human progress had finally put nails in the coffins of any number of of regressive beliefs and practices, up pops the “Heil Trump” crowd, the KKK or, more immediately, the nomination of a possible U.S. Attorney General that all of these hateful creeps must be celebrating.
The person at issue, of course, is Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions — President-elect Donald Trump’s execrable nominee for A.G. For those who may have been shielding themselves from the hateful lunacy of people you might have reasonably dismissed as mere flotsam and jetsam from the racist fringe, you owe it yourself to familiarize yourself with this very troubled man and his frightening past. In the coming days, Sessions will go before Thom Tillis, Richard Burr and his other colleagues in the U.S. Senate — the same Senate that refused to consider the Supreme Court nomination of Merrick Garland — to consider whether he is qualified to be the nation’s top law enforcement officer.
In response, an array of civil rights and civil liberties groups have been marshaling a campaign to oppose the nomination. One of the best summaries of the countless problems with the Sessions nomination comes from the American Civil Liberties Union, a group that as a matter of organizational policy doesn’t even take an official position on nominees. The ACLU’s detailed report is entitled “The Confirmation Sessions” and it ought to be required reading for all Americans who care about their country and its Constitution. Here is a brief summary:
More than thirty years ago, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, Donald Trump’s pick for attorney general, was in a similar situation as he will be on January 10 when he goes before the Senate Judiciary Committee for his confirmation hearing. Tapped by President Ronald Reagan for a federal judgeship in 1986, Sessions sat before the very same committee for his previous confirmation hearing. Things did not go well.
Witnesses accused Sessions, then the U.S. attorney for the southern district of Alabama, of repeatedly making racially insensitive and racist remarks. Thomas Figures — a former assistant U.S. attorney in Mobile, Alabama, who worked for Sessions — told the Senate Judiciary Committee that his former boss said he thought the Ku Klux Klan was okay until he learned members smoked pot. Sessions said the comment wasn’t serious. Figures, an African-American man, also alleged that Sessions called him “boy” and told him “to be careful what you say to white folks.” Sessions denied this, too.
But Figures wasn’t alone. Read more