Key Witness Against Sessions: He’s ‘Dangerously Outside The Mainstream’


Voting rights advocate Gerry Herbert on Tuesday submitted written testimony against Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) for the senator’s confirmation hearing to be attorney general, arguing that Sessions is “dangerously outside the mainstream” on civil rights.

Herbert was a key witness against Sessions in 1986 when he was rejected by the Senate for a federal judgeship. Herbert, who was a Justice Department employee at the time, testified that he once told Sessions that a judge called a white lawyer who worked on civil rights issues “either a traitor to his race or a disgrace to his race.” Sessions replied that “he probably is,” Herbert said in his testimony. Herbert also told the Senate at the time that Sessions called the ACLU and the NAACP “un-American.”

In his written testimony submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Herbert wrote that Sessions has not progressed much since that 1986 hearing when it comes to civil rights.

“Since 1986, instead of demonstrating that he has taken seriously the criticisms that derailed his judicial nomination, Mr. Sessions has opposed the rights of minorities at every turn,” he wrote. “It is not merely that Mr. Sessions is politically conservative—there are many conservatives I respect and whom I believe would make exemplary Attorneys General. It is that Mr. Sessions has shown himself to be dangerously outside the mainstream on the most basic issues of fairness and equal rights under the law.”

Read Herbert’s testimony: