When President-elect Donald Trump made his first nominations for cabinet positions, the name of Jeff Sessions was proposed for the position of Attorney General. Being Attorney General, the head of several legal divisions and 100,000 federal prosecutors who sets the tone for the agency, means that this person will be the key protector of the constitution and the key enforcement of the rights of ALL citizens in our country. But hearing his name sent pangs of anger through me.
By picking Sessions, who has a well-established anti-Civll Rights record, for his Attorney General, Trump may be revealing his true agenda. Sessions’ record is extensive with judgments and statements as well as actions which have established him as one of the worst racist and sexist legal practitioners in the government today. Sessions expressed his opposition to Civil Rights and Voting Rights enforcement since his tenure as a federal prosecutor in the 1980s. Currently, as Senator, his support of new voter registration laws in this country has disproportionately resulted in voter suppression of the communities of people of color, particularly African Americans, in strict violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He even expressed his true feelings which are on record in the Congressional Report during VRA reauthorization hearings in 2006. He still believes in discrimination against people of color without apology.
In addition, he has made statements against abortion rights, gay rights, immigration reform and equal pay. Sessions has voted against providing protection to the LGBT community as well as the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act. He has vocally expressed his opposition to Roe v. Wade. He voted against the Letty Ledbetter Equal Pay Act. He opposed the Violence against Women Act. He opposed rights of Native Americans. He opposed ALL forms of immigration reform. He even voted against the confirmations of Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Will discrimination be reinstated in our country during the Trump Administration?
Sessions also opposed criminal justice reform which has disproportionately affected the African American and Hispanic communities. As Attorney General, Sessions takes on the responsibility for the mission of the agency. He provides the tone and the agenda for his office. If he is not for the rights of ALL citizens, then he cannot be our public servant. His propensity for discrimination should make him ineligible for this position. His confirmation hearings, which were conducted on Tuesday January 10th, revealed the many objections key communities have against him and they will use his public statements as their evidence against him.
Why did Trump, out of all the lawyers who populate our political world, pick Sessions? What is Trump saying with this nomination? Does Trump want to reverse our social justice history? I can only guess at this answer and that answer does not give me much hope.
However, watching the NAACP “sit-in” in Jeff Sessions office last week brought back the memories of the 1950s and 1960s when the Civil Rights activists marched and engaged in Civil Disobedience in order to gain the attention and the action of our government. It was once again inspiring to see these black men and women sitting on the floor of Sessions’ office on Capitol Hill. This signals the beginning of a movement of concerned citizens to take back our country and to fight the impending dangers of the Trump administration.
Can the confirmation of Jeff Sessions be stopped? I don’t know! But I think we are going to see the citizens’ tsunami wash over the Jeff Sessions confirmation process.
Dana Camp-Farber was born in Sharon, Pennsylvania but raised in Los Angeles, California. She received her bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Communications from California State University, Los Angeles where she wrote for the school newspaper and brief articles for local newspapers. After receiving her master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Cal State Hayward, she studied teaching at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, California. Recently retired from her job as an elementary school teacher, she is returning to writing essays on social and political topics.