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The Power of Now
Read the PDF of our statement here.
Unceasing Hostility to Civil Rights Demonstrates Sessions Unqualified to Serve As Attorney General
Washington, DC -- Today, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) submitted a 32-page report to the Senate Judiciary Committee calling on the Senate to vote to reject the confirmation of Jefferson Sessions to be Attorney General of the United States.
“For his more than 40 years in public life, Jeff Sessions has demonstrated unrelenting hostility to civil rights and racial justice,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of LDF. “At every turn, he has stood opposed to the legal achievements that that have upheld and advanced equality and opportunity for every segment of our society -- Blacks, women, members of the LGBTQ community, workers, immigrants, consumers, schoolchildren, people with disabilities, religious minorities, and more. It is inconceivable that he should be entrusted with the oversight of our civil rights laws.”
In the powerful report, LDF examines Sessions’ record on civil rights and racial justice from early in his career through his most recent service in the Senate in key issue areas, including voting, criminal justice, equality in education, and worker and consumer protections. In each area and by any metric, his record shows that he is unfit to be Attorney General of the United States.
The report concludes:
Sessions’ attempted about face on civil rights to ease his confirmation does nothing to mollify and only deepens our concerns. Rather than forthrightly present his record to this Committee and the American public, Sessions has tried to rewrite history by taking credit for civil rights victories in which he had no meaningful role. Even standing alone, this misleading characterization of his work casts doubt on Sessions’ credibility and fitness to serve as Attorney General.
In sum, the nomination and hasty consideration of Senator Sessions for Attorney General on the basis of a record that is both woefully incomplete and yet alarming in what it reveals raises serious concerns. His substantive positions on a number of issues, along with his lack of candor and independence, are fundamentally disqualifying. The Senate Judiciary Committee should carefully vet and question Sessions about his lengthy record and be aware of what they are voting for and the inevitable consequences for the Department and the enforcement of our nation’s civil rights laws.
In the end, for all the reasons set forth in this report, the Senate should vote down the nomination of Senator Sessions to serve as Attorney General of the United States.
Read the full report here.
- Talking Points Memo, Matt Shuham, NAACP Legal Defense Fund Takes Aim At Sessions In New Report On His Record (Jan. 9, 2016)
- The Hill, Lydia Wheeler and Tim Devaney, Overnight Regulation: Sessions hearing to kick off confirmation blitz (Jan. 9, 2016)
- The Washington Post, Matt Zapotosky and Sari Horwitz, Sessions to press image of tough lawman and independent voice at attorney general hearings (Jan. 10, 2016)
- The Washington Post, Michael Laris, U.S. Department of Transportation to review Maryland’s civil rights compliance on projects (Jan. 23, 2016)
- The Baltimore Sun, Ian Duncan, On last day, Obama administration announced civil rights review of Maryland transportation (Jan. 24, 2016)
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.