Booker testified against confirmation of Sessions
On January 10 – 11, 2017, Senate Judiciary Committee hearings were held on whether or not Senator Jefferson “Jeff” Beauregard Sessions III (Alabama) should be the next Attorney General of the United States.
The first day, which was attended by a bus load of members of the Alabama State Conference of NAACP Branches was almost entirely dominated by Senator Sessions; on the second day the committee heard from 15 witnesses on two panels, some in favor of the nomination and some opposed.
Included in those opposing the nomination were NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks; Senator Cory Booker (NJ); Congressman John Lewis (GA); Congressman Cedric Richardson (LA), the new Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus; and David Cole, the Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Brooks said “Senator Sessions’ record conclusively demonstrates that he lacks the judgment and temperament to serve effectively as Attorney General of the United States. Senator Sessions’ record throughout his career…evinces a clear disregard, disrespect, and even disdain for the civil and human rights of racial and ethnic minorities, women, the disabled, and others who suffer from discrimination in this country.”
Brooks went on to demonstrate that as a U.S. Senator, Sen. Sessions has consistently opposed many of the very crucial laws and programs for which he will be responsible for enforcing at the US Department of Justice, and that he has earned an average score of just over 10% out of 100% on the NAACP Civil Rights Federal Legislative Report Card throughout his 19 years as a US Senator.
Specifically, to name but a few of the troubling positions taken by Sen. Sessions which were opposed by the NAACP, he consistently voted against the expansion of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act; he has consistently opposed safe, sane and sensible measures to stem the plague of gun violence across our country; he voted against the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act; he has supported discriminatory requirement for photo identification when voting; and he has worked to prevent legislation which would repair and restore the 1965 Voting Rights Act among other troubling policy positions.
In addition to his woeful voting record, Senator Sessions has also voiced policy and opinions which are diametrically opposed, and in too many cases, directly hurtful to the NAACP and the communities we serve. Specifically, he has referred to the NAACP as “un-American” and “Communist-inspired” because we “forced civil rights down the throats of people.”
He has also accused the NAACP and other like- minded groups of teaching anti-American values. In 2015, Senator Sessions 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”; and in 2006 he referred to the 1965 Voting Rights Act during its reauthorization as “a piece of intrusive legislation.”
Given his past record of dismal regard for basic civil and human rights, the NAACP opposes the nomination of Senator Sessions to serve as US Attorney General. The next step in the process is a vote by the full Senate Judiciary Committee on whether or not to send his nomination forward to the full US Senate with a positive recommendation. We urge every Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee to oppose this nomination, as well as every Member of the US Senate if it reaches that point.
Call your Senators in Washington by dialing the Capitol Switchboard and asking to be transferred to their offices. The switchboard phone number is (202) 224-3121
THE MESSAGE TO YOUR SENATOR
Throughout his careers as a U.S. Senator, the Attorney General for the State of Alabama, the US Attorney and the Assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, Jeff Sessions has demonstrated a clear disrespect for and opposition to the advancement and protection of the civil, human, and Constitutional rights and needs of all Americans.
Jeff Sessions’ voting record while in the U.S. Senate is indicative of his disregard for many of the laws and programs for which he will be responsible for enforcing. During his tenure in the U.S. Senate, he has voted against key civil rights laws and programs such as the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the Violence Against Women Act, and gun violence prevention initiatives.
Senator Sessions has also made derogatory comments about the NAACP and the 1965 Voting Rights Act and he has spoken of the Confederate Battle Flag, and all that it represents, in glowing terms.