January 8th, 2017


Jeff Sessions: racism, war on drugs, and against voting rights

When Jeff Sessions was nominated to be a Federal judge in 1986, a Republican majority voted to deny him because he was too racist. Among the things that came out at his hearing were the time he prosecuted a group of black people doing a voting registration drive on trumped up charges (the jury quickly voted them not guilty on all charges), the time he called a white civil rights lawyer "a disgrace to his race", and that he thought the KKK was okay until he learned they smoke pot.

Now Trump has nominated Sessions to be Attorney General of the US, and it's going to take a couple of Republican votes to stop him, just like it did in 1986. Confirmation hearings are scheduled for Tuesday, so the more calls senators get about him on Monday, the better our chances.

In addition to hhis racism, those things that came up in 1986 are quite telling in other ways...

His hostility to the right to vote has been fierce and longstanding. Harassing innocent voters and trying to prosecute black voter registration is just part of it. He opposed the Voting Rights Act when it was originally passed, and he praised the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision gutting a significant portion of the Voting Rights Act in 2013. Now he's trying to head the Department of Justice, responsible for enforcing the Voting Rights Act, which will allow him not to enforce the remaining parts of it.

He seems to think smoking marijuana is much worse than being racist. "Good people do not smoke marijuana", he said. Obama's Justice Department decided to leave Colorado, Washington, and other states that vote to legalize marijuana in peace, even though they could've continued to prosecute people in those states under Federal law. Jeff Sessions would like to kick the war on drugs back up a notch, and as Attorney General, he could do it.

If you want him stopped, call your US Senators on Monday! (To find their numbers, go to senate.gov and select your state from the "Find Your Senators" menu at top right.

Also, think of who you know who lives in Pennsylvania, Maine, Arizona, or Alaska, and ask them to make calls. The Republican Senators I think most likely to vote against Sessions are from those states. [Maybe also Rand Paul of Kentucky, if he sticks to his principles against the war on drugs, but he would love to have an ally against voting rights, and his father published a white supremacist magazine that he never really condemned, so I don't expect it from him.]