Jeff Sessions’ America

Originally published by the Birmingham News 12/4/16

It is unthinkable that Jeff Sessions be our next Attorney General

Nearly 30 years have passed since Ted Kennedy took to the Senate floor to give a rousing speech against President Reagan’s radically conservative nominee to the Supreme Court: Robert Bork. The speech, widely credited with sinking the controversial nomination, was titled “Robert Bork’s America”, and contained the lines:

“Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution…”

Well, here we are 30 years later, and President-Elect Trump has chosen our own Senator Jeff Sessions to hold one of the highest offices in the land — that of Attorney General of the United States. The President-Elect’s pick of Sessions for some cabinet-level position was widely expected, as Alabama’s junior Senator was an early and eager supporter of Trump’s campaign. However, the decision to place Sessions atop the Department of Justice — the one federal agency tasked with protecting Civil Rights, is as stunning as it is ridiculous.

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, named so after heroes of the old Confederacy, has spent his entire career fighting against the basic rights of African Americans, of immigrants, of poor folks, and of the LGBT community. In fact, in Kennedy and Bork’s era, he was rejected from a federal judgeship due to his past racist rhetoric and horrifying record as a federal prosecutor. Nowadays, his record in the Senate has earned him the reputation as Congress’ most anti-Immigrant force — even opposing legal immigration.

Senator Sessions’ America is still the America Robert Bork stood for all those years ago. It’s a place where immigrants live in constant fear of deportation, where black folks are denied their seat at the table, where the rich get richer while the poor get poorer, and where lesbians and gays are denied their basic human rights.

It is unthinkable that he should be our next Attorney General. All Alabamians, and all Americans, should speak out and oppose his confirmation.