“Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III.”
That’s how Alabama NAACP leaders chose to write out the name of Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions, President-elect Donald J. Trump’s choice to become U.S. Attorney General, in a letter to the Senate leadership denouncing Sessions’ controversial nomination. As a reminder, they said. Of what, they didn’t say.
But it should come as little surprise that Sessions, four-term senator from Alabama, is not well-liked or well-respected in the civil rights community. Most notably by his nomination to federal judgeship by then-President Regan being famously shot down by a Republican Congress over alleged racist comments to co-workers and others. There is also his lack of support for expansion of the federal Voting Rights Act and other stances over the years.
Thus, many in the civil rights community cannot fathom Sessions differentiating between upholding federal that has protected so many for decades and his own well-publicized ideological bent.
All that stuff’s all in the past say his supporters, who have increasingly come out of the woodwork in recent weeks to defend Sessions as a “decent” man “who doesn’t have a racist bone in his body.”
Post letter writer Thomas F. Carney sought to make that very argument in today’s Point of View column:
How disappointing that Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have refused courtesy visits from Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for attorney general. The reasons range from objections based on racist comments Sessions allegedly made more than 30 years ago — which he has denied — or that his background will make it impossible for him to enforce the civil rights laws.
To judge someone on what was allegedly said so many years ago but ignore what that person has actually done over the years defies common sense and fairness.
He championed the passage of the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act. Prior law had disproportionately negatively impacted minority communities.
As U.S. attorney, Sessions enforced civil rights laws including a case which essentially bankrupted the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama.
Sessions has a history of working in a bipartisan manner to protect the rights of some of the weakest amongst us, including his active support for the Victims Rights Amendment.
But a few Post readers took issue with Carney’s assertion that Senate Democrats are denying Sessions the traditional “courtesy visits” allowed all nominees. And go on to quesiton whether he even deserves the courtesy. According to one:
I tried Googling both in general and under News, and the letter from Carney is the only reference I can find to discourtesy, organized or individual, regarding Ol’ Jeff. Closest I’ve seen is that they want to prolong the hearings until they can confirm that he doesn’t hang his white sheet in his Senate office.
Or has Mr. Carney been reading Breitbart? And if so, how did I, Trump miss it?
Likely, Carney was extrapolating from this Dec. 26 Wall Street Journal piece:
Ms. Feinstein might have started to demystify this sphinx with a traditional nominee courtesy call, but the Californian and other Judiciary Democrats abruptly cancelled the scheduled meetings and then skipped town for Christmas recess. Democrats at Senate Finance are following the same strategy with other nominees, but the Sessions snub is a remarkable way to treat a longtime colleague.
Is Sessions getting a raw deal here, or his rightful comeuppance? Tell us what you think in the “Comments” section.