The last time that Jeff Sessions was nominated by a U.S. president, it was for a federal judgeship, and the Republican majority Senate rejected him because he was too racist.
Since then, Sessions has managed to win a seat in the very chamber that rejected him, and has repackaged some of his racism by calling it his immigration policy, while at the same time, instead of working to dispel what cost him the judgeship, he has embraced those beliefs exhibiting dogged animosity toward civil rights.
The Alabama Senator has called the Voting Rights Act of 1965 a “piece of intrusive legislation.” There can be little doubt that under his leadership, the Department of Justice would concentrate more on the debunked claims of widespread voter fraud that have run wild in Republican circles, and less on protecting the rights of disenfranchised minorities who are increasingly the victims of voter suppression laws that are passed around the country.
As a U.S. Attorney, he brought voter fraud charges against three civil rights workers who were trying to register black voters in Alabama. The case resulted in 14 allegedly doctored ballots — allegedly — out of 1.7 million cast and a verdict of acquittal for the civil rights workers.
President Obama correctly said before the election that criminal justice reform — which he has been pushing — was on the ballot. Sessions has strongly opposed bipartisan — in this highly partisan Senate — legislation to scale back the severely harsh sentences that have caused the ballooning numbers of low level drug offenders in federal prisons. He actually advocated for the opposite — more and harsher mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes.
Sessions has become the champion of the anti-immigration movement in the U.S. Congress. He regularly relies on material from the movement to argue against any immigration reform particularly in his current position as Chair of the Immigration Subcommittee within the Senate Judiciary Committee.
He has been the Senate’s staunchest opponent of fixing the immigration system. In 2015, he proposed a five year mandatory minimum sentence for anyone re-entering the country illegally after being deported, something that Trump made part of his policy during his campaign. Aside from the many other problems with such a proposal, it would increase the federal prison population by some 30 percent.
One of the anti-immigration groups that have enjoyed his support over the years is the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which for years has been identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The group’s founder, John Tanton, a white nationalist who wrote in 1993:
I’ve come to the point of view that for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority, and a clear one at that.”
The group has not only had a single-minded mission of severely limiting or ending immigration, but its leaders have longstanding ties to white supremacist groups. This is just one of several major anti-immigration groups that have close ties to Sessions and who also are dominated by white nationalists.
The Alabama Senator is also a favorite of anti-Muslim groups. In fact, in 2014, he received the “Daring the Odds: The Annie Taylor Award” from the David Horowitz Freedom Center, which is run by the anti-Muslim extremist after who it was named. The following year — just last year — the Senator received the “Keeper of the Flame” award from the anti-Muslim group Center for Security Policy which is run by Frank Gaffney, the anti-Muslim, conspiracy theorist, who was forced out of the Reagan administration, but who now is advising Donald Trump.
As Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill) said in a statement after the President-elect nominated the Alabama Senator:
“If you have nostalgia for the days when blacks kept quiet, gays were in the closet, immigrants were invisible and women stayed in the kitchen, Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions is your man. No senator has fought harder against the hopes and aspirations of Latinos, immigrants, and people of color than Sen. Sessions.”
The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of CitizenSlant.