WASHINGTON—Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement in response to the announcement that Senator Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., will be President-elect Trump’s nominee for Attorney General, the office primarily responsible for enforcing our nation’s civil rights laws:
“This nomination is deeply troubling to Americans who care about equal protection under the law. Throughout his tenure in the Senate, Senator Sessions has been one of the chamber’s leading antagonists of immigrants and the LGBT community, continuing his long record of obstructing civil rights that began in his tenure as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama.
His record of hostility to voting rights as U.S. Attorney is particularly egregious. He called a White voting rights litigator a ‘disgrace to his race,’ retaliated against voting rights advocates by wrongly charging them with crimes, and proclaimed the Voting Rights Act ‘intrusive.’ He also once declared that the Ku Klux Klan was ‘OK’ but that the National Council of Churches, the NAACP, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference were ‘un-American.’
The Senate Judiciary Committee already rejected Senator Sessions’ nomination for a federal judgeship in 1986 because of his established pattern of bigotry. People can certainly change over the course of 30 years, but despite glimmers of hope throughout his career—including his work on the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 – the overall record shows that Senator Sessions has not. He has no place leading our nation’s enforcement of civil rights and voting rights laws or implementing our nation’s desperately needed reforms to policing.
Either President-elect Trump should retract this announcement or the Senate should stand firm in rejecting another Sessions nomination.”
Wade Henderson is the president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.