NAACP Legal Defense Fund Takes Aim At Sessions In New Report On His Record

AP

The NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund published a harsh rebuke of President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general Monday, writing in a lengthy and detailed record of his career that “unrelenting hostility toward civil rights and racial justice has been the defining feature of Jeff Sessions’ professional life.”

The report examines Sessions’ stances on legal matters pertaining to racial justice and civil rights, including voting rights, sentencing reform, education funding, prison labor and consumer protections. It concludes that his understanding of civil rights makes him “unfit for government service.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to begin two days of hearings on Sessions’ nomination Tuesday.

Sessions-sponsored bills and votes on juvenile justice, it says, are “extreme if not inhumane.” He supported so-called prison “chain gangs” that, LDF writes, are “borne from the darkest moments in American history.”

The report also provides an account of Sessions prosecution of three prominent voting rights activists in Perry County, Alabama—the “Marion Three”—under the “specious” argument that they had fraudulently helped voters who required help to fill out absentee ballots.

“Worse, while Sessions attempted to criminalize the protected voting activity of Black citizens, he declined to investigate specific allegations of unlawful electoral conduct, including irregularities in absentee voting, committed by and on behalf of white Perry County candidates,” the report notes of the case, detailing charges of unlawful electoral conduct which Sessions refused to pursue against white people as a federal prosecutor.

“Altogether, across many years and issue areas, Senator Sessions has amassed a deeply and consistently troubling record on issues of civil rights, racial justice, and equality,” the report concludes.

“This is not a close call. This is not an instance where an individual was simply slow to adapt to changing times, or remained silent or neutral on sensitive matters of discrimination. Rather, at every stage of his career, including through the most recent presidential campaign, Sessions has repeatedly and often vociferously opposed civil rights laws, organizations, and principles.”

Read the report below:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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