NEW VIDEO: Jeff Sessions: The KKK’s First Step To “Taking America Back”
Senate Called On to Reject Attorney General Nominee Jeff Sessions Over His Disqualifying Anti-Civil Rights Record
Sessions’ Long History of Squashing Civil Rights of Minorities, LGBT, People with Disabilities, and Women is Anathema to the Office of Attorney General and American Values
Sessions Was Denied a Federal Judgeship by Fellow Republicans in 1986 for a Reason, The Same Reason the KKK is Cheering On His Nomination for America’s Top Lawyer Today
Watch New Video ‘KKK or the USA?’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZ6zLYFzwEc&feature=youtu.be
Washington DC (December 1, 2016) – Today at the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court, civil rights and progressive leaders gathered together to implore the U.S. Senate to deny President-elect Trump’s nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) for U.S. Attorney General given his troubling decades-long record of racial insensitivity, hostility towards the LGBT community, callous attitude toward people with disabilities, and treatment of women as second-class citizens. See the record below and watch video of the press event HERE.
Following the event, letters signed by 144 national organizations were hand-delivered to key Senators that lays out why Sessions in no way meets the standard to be the nation’s top attorney, someone who is supposed to enforce all Americans’ civil rights and be a fair arbiter of justice. In addition, Americans United for Change released a new video featuring audio of David Duke -- the white nationalist radio host, infamous anti-Semite, and former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard -- praising the AG nomination of Senator Sessions as a first step to “taking America back.” The question to Senators: do you stand alongside the KKK, or those who support equal rights and justice for all citizens of the USA?
In 1986, President Reagan nominated Sessions to a federal court judgeship in the U.S. Southern District of Alabama. Over four days, Sessions’ record of undermining civil rights was reviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee under a Republican-led Senate. The Committee rejected his nomination by 10-8 vote with the help of two Republicans. It was only the second time in 50 years that the Committee failed to report a judicial nomination to the full Senate. His record of racial and sexual bigotry and animus towards women’s rights only got worse during his 20 years as a U.S. Senator.
Brad Woodhouse, President, Americans United for Change: “It’s no mystery why Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley wants to fast-track Sessions’ nomination process and hold hearings in the middle of the holiday season before Trump is even sworn in as President. Republicans are trying to minimize public scrutiny of Session’s record. But all it takes it one glimpse at the record to know Senator Jeff Sessions’ problems with minorities and women would be a serious problem for American justice and civil rights. A bipartisan group of Senators torpedoed Sessions’ bid to be a federal judge in 1986 over his history of racist remarks and vocal support for the KKK, a hate group that tellingly is thrilled with his nomination for AG today. If Jeff Sessions was deemed too racially insensitive in 1986 by a Senate that included the likes of Jesse Helms, how in the world could anyone consider him a level-headed choice for attorney general in 2016. Sessions would have been a toxic pick even in the pre-Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act Mad Men-era. This is a guy who recently stated he doesn’t believe grabbing a woman in the crotch constitutes sexual assault! There’s no question that Republicans who deny Sessions’ nomination would be on the right side of history. Or do Mitch McConnell, Chuck Grassley and company want to be remembered for consenting to a person who marginalizes huge segments of the population becoming the ‘people’s lawyer’?
BACKGROUND: Sessions’ History of Trampling Civil Rights of Monitories and Women Makes Him an Appalling Choice for AG
- Sessions on Trump Bragging About Grabbing Women by the Crotch : “I don't characterize that as sexual assault” : As reported by Talking Points Memo: Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) claimed that Donald Trump was not describing sexual assault in a leaked video recording in which the Republican nominee brags about grabbing women “by the pussy” without their consent. Interviewed in the spin room after the presidential debate in St. Louis, in which Trump brushed off the comments as “locker room talk,” the Alabama senator noted that the real estate mogul already apologized for his “very improper language.” “But beyond the language, would you characterize the behavior described in that [video] as sexual assault if that behavior actually took place?” the Weekly Standard asked. “I don't characterize that as sexual assault,” Sessions replied. ”I think that's a stretch. I don't know what he meant—“ “So if you grab a woman by the genitals, that's not sexual assault?” the Weekly Standard pressed. “I don't know. It's not clear that he—how that would occur.” [Talking Points Memo, 10/10/2016]
- Sessions Was One of Only 22 Senators to Oppose the Violence Against Women Act. Sessions voted against the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, which holds offenders accountable and provides services for victims. [S. 47, Vote #19, February 12, 2013]
- CNN: ‘Sessions dogged by old allegations of racism’ : As reported by CNN: It was 30 years ago that Sessions was denied a federal judgeship. At the time, he was a 39-year-old US attorney in Alabama. The Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony during hearings in March and May 1986, that Sessions had made racist remarks and called the NAACP and ACLU "un-American." Thomas Figures, a black assistant US attorney who worked for Sessions, testified that Sessions called him "boy" on multiple occasions and joked about the Ku Klux Klan, saying that he thought Klan members were "OK, until he learned that they smoked marijuana." [CNN, 11/18/2016]
- Think Progress: ‘Sessions led a voter fraud witch hunt targeting black civil rights workers’ : During his decade as a federal prosecutor in Alabama — a state with an dark history of racism and voter suppression — Sessions embarked on a witch hunt targeting civil rights workers who were registering elderly black voters and helping them get absentee ballots. He unsuccessfully charged three organizers, including a former aide to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., with so many counts of voter fraud that they would have served 100 year sentences if convicted. Focusing only on counties where black voting participation had surged following the passage of the Voting Rights Act, Sessions interrogated dozens of older African American voters, yet only turned up 14 suspect ballots out of more than 1.7 million cast in the state in 1984. The “Marion Three” were acquitted. [Think Progress, 11/18/2016]
- Think Progress: Sessions Called the Voting Rights Act a “piece of intrusive legislation,” Said the Supreme Court was “probably correct” to gut the federal voting protections. When he was under consideration for a federal judgeship, Sessions admitted to calling the Voting Rights Act a “piece of intrusive legislation.” Last year, he told Think Progress that the Supreme Court was “probably correct” to gut the federal voting protections because “we’ve had so much improved voting rights.” [Think Progress, 11/18/2016]
- Sessions Defended the Display of Confederate flags in Public Buildings: In an audio recording captured by The Intercept in June 2015, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., [appearing on a Birmingham talk radio program] said that calls to remove the Confederate flag from public buildings are among efforts by “the left” to “delegitimize the fabulous accomplishments of our country.” [The Intercept, June 29, 2016]
- Mother Jones: ‘Sessions Fought Against Hate Crime Protections for LGBT Victims’ As reported by Mother Jones: “Sessions ardently opposed the 2009 Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The act extended federal hate crime protections to people victimized because of their sexual orientation, gender or gender identity, or disability. (Federal law already covered race, ethnicity, and religion as protected classes.) It also expanded the kinds of crimes that could be federally prosecuted under the hate crime statute, as well as the feds' potential involvement in those prosecutions. The bill passed over Sessions' objections—but now he could effectively neutralize it as attorney general.” [Mother Jones, 11/22/2016]
- Sessions Opposed Repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’, Called Gay Service Members “Corrosive” to Troop Morale, Continues to Oppose Same-Sex Marriage. As reported by the Huffington Post: Sessions “voted in support of a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, against taking up a bill providing workplace discrimination protections for LGBTQ people, against repealing the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, and ― two times ― against expanding the definition of hate crimes to include attacks on people because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. In 2014, a year after the Supreme Court struck down part of the now-defunct Defense of Marriage Act, Sessions co-sponsored a bill that would allow the state definition of marriage to supersede the federal definition.” Session also claimed gay service members would have a “corrosive” effect on morale. [Huffington Post, 11/22/2016, Roll Call, 11/15/2016]
- Sessions Voted Against Efforts to Close the Gender Wage Gap for Women. In 2009, Sessions was one of only 23 Senators to vote against Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, a bill signed into law by President Obama to help fight gender wage disparity by giving victims of pay discrimination more time to file a complaint. In 2014, Sessions voted repeatedly to block the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who share salary information. [Think Progress, July 2, 2010; S. 2199, Vote #103, 4/9/2014; S.2199, Vote #262, 9/15/2014]
- Sessions is a Co-Sponsor of the Defund Planned Parenthood Act. Senator Sessions is a co-sponsor of S.1836, the Defund Planned Parenthood Act, which CBO estimates would cut off access to preventative health care to 390,000 women and reduce access for 650,000 others within a year. [S.1836, co-sponsored 09/08/2015]
- Sessions Dubbed ‘Champion of Anti-Muslim and Anti-Immigrant Extremists’ by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Once Derided Bipartisan Senate Immigration Reform Bill as “Terrorist Assistance and Facilitation Act.” According to the SPLC: Sessions “has longstanding and extensive ties to both anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim extremist groups” and “His efforts to combat comprehensive immigration reform legislation have won him plaudits across the nativist landscape.” As reported by the Huffington Post, Sessions once derided a comprehensive reform bill as the “Terrorist Assistance and Facilitation Act of 2007.” [SPLV, November 18, 2016; Huffington Post, 6/07/2009]