Friday, May 08, 2009

Bigotry And Racism Come Easily To Jeff Sessions

With Arlen off to the other side, the wise leadership of the Senate's GOP has decided to make Jeff Sessions the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee. Since Obama will be nominating someone to replace Justice Souter in the next few months, Sessions will help set the tone for Republicans as they try and battle whomever the President chooses. So who is Jeff Sessions? Well, going by his past, it seems as if Mitch McConnell's own pick is going to help solidify the party's image as a white, southern party.

From TPM:

When it became clear that Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) was poised to become ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, we recalled this 2002 article by Sarah Wildman which addresses some of the controversies that kept Sessions from being confirmed in 1986 as a U.S. District Court judge in Alabama.

Wildman writes in particular that the testimonies of two witnesses--a Justice Department employee named J. Gerald Hebert, and a black Sessions subordinate named Thomas Figures--helped to doom Sessions, then a U.S. Attorney, at his Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings. According to Wildman, Hebert testified reluctantly "that in a conversation between the two men Sessions had labeled the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) "un-American" and "Communist-inspired." And Figures--then an assistant U.S. Attorney--told the committee that "during a 1981 murder investigation involving the Ku Klux Klan, Sessions was heard by several colleagues commenting that he 'used to think they [the Klan] were OK' until he found out some of them were 'pot smokers.'"

And that's just the beginning of it, there's plenty more that Talking Points Memo found. Rachel Maddow also does a nice synopsis of Sessions. But all the evidence against Sessions isn't just in the past. There's also that exchange with Fox News when Sessions thought that gay nominees would make Americans uneasy. And of course you can judge for yourself by looking at his record. One thing is for sure though, Sessions is emblematic of the current status of the Republican party. Far to the right of the rest of country, narrow-minded and as you can see above, prejudiced to the extreme.