Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III (1946- ), a US senator from Alabama since 1997, has just been named Attorney General by President-elect Donald Trump. If confirmed by the Senate, as looks likely, he will become head of the Department of Justice (DOJ), of which the FBI is a part – even though in 1986 he was considered too racist to become a federal judge!
Donald Trump says Sessions:
“is a world-class legal mind and considered a truly great Attorney General and U.S. Attorney in the state of Alabama.”
David Duke, former head of the Klan:
“Bannon, Flynn, Sessions — Great! Senate must demand that Sessions as AG stop the massive institutional race discrimination against whites!”
Andrew Anglin, alt-right head of the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer:
“Basically, we are looking at a Daily Stormer Dream Team … Trump is making a point by putting an aggressive anti-Black racist in as AG.”
The NAACP gives his Senate voting record an F.
Janet Murguia, president of the National Council of La Raza:
“On every single issue under the purview of the Justice Department – civil rights, voting rights, criminal justice reform, and immigration most notably – he holds positions diametrically opposed to the Latino community, the civil rights community, and to the mainstream.”
Voting rights: He called the Voting Rights Act of 1965 a “piece of intrusive legislation.” He favoured the gutting of it by the Supreme Court in 2013. As Attorney General he will be the last main line of defence against voter suppression laws. Fun fact: he grew up near Selma.
Police brutality: It will be up to him whether to look into racist police forces and enforce any needed reforms. This will most immediately affect Baltimore, which is still in the middle of hammering out reforms.
Mass incarceration: He favours mandatory minimum sentences, which have filled US prisons with Black men at world record levels.
Immigration: In 2013 he led the successful fight to kill immigration
reform. In 2015 he helped to shape (and defend) Trump’s draconian immigration policies. He sees foreigners coming to live in the US as bringing crime, terrorism and lower wages. He doubts even the benefits of the Asian brain drain. He is against birthright citizenship.
Sexual assault: Grabbing women “by the pussy”, which Trump boasted of doing, does not count.
Gay rights: Against same-sex marriage, against homophobic violence as a hate crime.
Confederate flag: In 2015, he opposed South Carolina taking it down.
Early adopter: In 1964 he was a Goldwater Repblican back when few White Southerners were Republican. In 2016 he became the first sitting senator to openly back Trump.
In the 1980s and 1990s, as “a truly great Attorney General and U.S. Attorney in the state of Alabama”, he looked into cases of voter fraud among Blacks, but not among Whites. As Black churches burned across his state he did nothing.
On the other hand, he did go after the Klan after they hanged Michael Donald from a tree in 1981. He also took part in anti-segregation cases.
“I am not a racist. I am not insensitive to blacks.”
– Abagond, 2016.
- Jefferson Davis – his namesake
- David Duke
- Donald Trump
- Steve Bannon – a Sessions fanboy since 2013. Wanted him to become president.
- Michael Flynn
- Voting Rights Act of 1965
- mass incarceration
- police brutality in Baltimore
- Black church burnings
- Confederate flag
- Asian brain drain