By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Saturday, November 19, 2016, Alabama Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy Worley called the appointment of US Senator Jeff Sessions “disturbing” and called on the US Senate to reject Sen. Sessions as President Donald J. Trump’s (R) Attorney General.
Chairwoman Worley said in a statement, “Donald Trump’s choice of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, III for US Attorney General is deeply disturbing. Our nation does not need an Attorney General with a history of hostility toward civil rights law, as well as disdain for voting rights activists overseeing civil rights and voting rights enforcement.”
Chairwoman Worley said, “Sessions was considered too racist to be a federal judge in the 1980’s. At that time, he was the second nominee in fifty years to be rejected by a U.S. Senate committee. At a critical time in our history when voting rights are in jeopardy and voter suppression has become a principal electoral tool of a major political party, Jeff Sessions is the opposite of what we need to lead the Justice Department.”
Worley concluded, “The United States Senate should reject the nomination of Jeff Sessions for Attorney General and prevent him from attempting to drag our great nation backwards to the 1860’s.”
Planned Parenthood Southeast President and CEO Staci Fox said, “Senator Sessions’ long history of extreme views on civil rights, women’s health, and sexual assault deem him an inappropriate choice to serve as the chief law enforcement officer of this country. Our nation’s Attorney General must uphold all of our laws, including access to the vital reproductive health care services available at Planned Parenthood health centers across Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. Senator Sessions’ rhetoric and record raise serious concerns over his ability to protect the constitutional right of women to decide if and when to have a family. If President-elect Trump truly seeks to unify our country, we urge him to choose an Attorney General who can impartially uphold the laws of the United States, and Senator Sessions is not that person.”
US Senator Elizabeth Warren (D from Massachusetts) has already called on the Senate to reject Sessions as Attorney General. Sen. Warren said, “Senator Sessions was vetted for a federal judgeship several years ago and at that time it became quite public that he made jokes about the KKK, that he made racial slurs, used racial slurs, that he said things that caused not just Democrats, but people in his own party, Republicans, to say this is a man who is not fit to be a federal judge.”
President Ronald Reagan (R) had appointed Sessions (then the US Attorney for Alabama’s Southern District) to a lifetime federal judgeship. The Senate Judiciary Committee (which ironically Sessions is now a member) rejected Sessions nomination.
US Representative Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) has come forward to defend Sessions. Congresswoman Roby said, “It’s really a shame to see people tarnish the name of such a good man. I doubt most of the people attacking Senator Sessions know him or have even met him. I do know Jeff Sessions and I can tell you that he is a man of the highest character and integrity. He probably has a better understanding of the rule of law than anyone in elected office.”
Former U.S. Senator Arlen Specter (R from Pennsylvania) who was the deciding vote on the Judiciary Committee against Sessions’ nomination later admitted that his “no” vote was a mistake and regretted the decision.
Rep. Roby said, “You know, we’ve seen these attacks before. Washington liberals kept Senator Sessions from an appointment to the federal bench during the Reagan Administration using these same tactics. I’m reminded of former Senator Arlen Specter, who said that in all is years of service the vote he regretted most was the one he cast not to confirm Jeff Sessions for the bench. He said that because he came to know Jeff Sessions and understand his character. Our country would be very fortunate to have Jeff Sessions in a leadership role, and I believe if that happens his critics will be proven wrong.”
“Rollcall” has mentioned Congresswoman Roby as a possible contender to replace Sessions in the US Senate.
The Weekly Standard’s Mark Hemingway defended Sessions: “Sessions’s actual track record certainly doesn’t suggest he’s a racist. Quite the opposite, in fact. As a US Attorney he filed several cases to desegregate schools in Alabama. And he also prosecuted Klansman Henry Francis Hays, son of Alabama Klan leader Bennie Hays, for abducting and killing Michael Donald, a black teenager selected at random. Sessions insisted on the death penalty for Hays. When he was later elected the state Attorney General, Sessions followed through and made sure Hays was executed. The successful prosecution of Hays also led to a $7 million civil judgment against the Klan, effectively breaking the back of the KKK in Alabama.”
Former Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead said on social media, “The liberal media and Democrats don’t want you to read the Weekly Standard because people will find out that Sen. Jeff Sessions is not a racist as they are making him out to be. They KNOW he’s not but that’s the only thing they can fabricate to accuse him of since his conservative voting record can’t be attacked. So they play the race card every time a conservative is put up for something in hopes of bringing them down. This time they will not succeed! They played the race card on him in 1986 after President Reagan nominated him to a federal judgeship. This will not work again. They cannot stand the thought that under Jeff Sessions we will have an Attorney General who believes in the Constitution and will uphold it along with the laws of our great country. No more politics in the Attorney General’s office!
Alabama Minority GOP Chairman Phillip Brown said on social media, “Sessions was a champion for black Americans but now he’s a racist?”
Some Democrats have suggested that Sen. Warren as a possible presidential candidate in 2020; but her age could be an impediment. Warren, if elected, would be 71 and 7 months when inaugurated……older than any first term President in history. Pres. Ronald Reagan was 69 and 11 months when inaugurated is currently the oldest President in history. President Donald J. Trump will be the oldest first term President in history when he is inaugurated in January at 70 and 6 months old.
Original reporting by masslive.com, ‘Rollcall’, ‘The Weekly Standard’, and Wikipedia contributed to this report.