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Southern Man

January 10, 2017


I have always liked and admired Senator Cory Booker (D – New Jersey), but now I LOVE Cory Booker, because he will testify against Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions during the confirmation hearings starting today.  This is a very big deal, because it is extremely rare for one senator to openly oppose another in the clubby senate.  It takes guts to do that because it entails a major personal risk in that go-along-to-get-along atmosphere. It also means that Booker is profoundly disturbed by Sessions’s views, as well we all should be.

The symbolism of Trump’s nomination of Sessions, white Alabamian with a history of hostility to civil rights, to succeed two African-American attorney generals under Obama could not be more plain. In 1986, under the Reagan administration, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, was rejected by the Senate for a federal judgeship, primarily for his racist attitudes. Since then, he claims to have modified his views and supported civil rights issues, but former colleagues have disputed his conversion, and his confirmation is opposed by the NAACP, the ACLU, and other civil rights groups.

The nominee’s views are important because the Attorney General has enormous discretion about which cases to pursue and which to ignore.  Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch have led the federal government to investigate the pervasive racial bias in policing and the judicial system that has been exposed in recent years.  We cannot not expect that to continue under Sessions.  If you believe Black Lives Matter, then Sessions is probably not your man.

Trump’s views on immigration are essentially identical to those of Sessions.  In fact, they likely originated with him. (Check out this video here.)  Sessions has consistently opposed any path to legalization or citizenship for undocumented aliens in this country and favored deportation.  If you believe that the millions of undocumented people living and working in this country and their children deserve a chance to come out of the shadows and live without fear, then Sessions is not your man.

Indeed, Sessions has opposed every progressive reform over the last 40 years.  He was against gay marriage and gay rights in general, he opposed the repeal of don’t-ask-don’t-tell, he doesn’t believe in climate change, he is a hard liner on sentencing and drug policy.

If you like your weed, just remember that using marijuana is still a federal crime. Under Obama, the Justice Department decided not to pursue legal action against states that had legalized pot for medical or recreational use.  That policy could very well be overturned under Sessions.

Perhaps most important is that Sessions would almost certainly not use the Justice Department to oppose the wave of restrictive voter suppression measures that Republicans have imposed in state after state where they are in control.

Basically, Sessions is a compendium of conservative white Southern attitudes and beliefs.

If you find this disturbing, call your senator now.  This train is moving fast!  To find out how to contact your senator, click here.

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