Donald J. Trump perhaps selected Jeff Sessions to be the next U.S. attorney general expecting him to get a smooth ride through the Senate Judiciary Committee.
I believe he would be mistaken if that is the case.
Sessions has served in the Senate as a Republican from Alabama. However, he brings some heavy baggage along as he preps for what I think will be a rough confirmation hearing.
You see, he once was rebuffed by the Senate when President Reagan nominated him for a federal judgeship. Why? It seems the then-U.S. attorney had said some highly insensitive things about African-Americans — and about an infamous organization known to hate black people.
Sessions once said he believed the Ku Klux Klan was OK until he learned that one of its leaders “had smoked pot.” Sessions said he was joking. Damn, I haven’t stopped laughing at that one!
The Senate couldn’t abide by what Sessions said so it rejected his nomination to the federal bench.
Voters back home, though, apparently didn’t hold that rejection against Sessions when they elected him to the same Senate that had turned him away from his cherished judgeship.
As the Washington Post has reported, Sessions’s views are at odds with a lot of mainstream political thought across the nation. For example, according to the Post: “At a 2006 congressional hearing, Sessions said that an entire group of people wouldn’t thrive in America. ‘Fundamentally, almost no one coming from the Dominican Republic to the United States is coming because they have a skill that would benefit us and would indicate their likely success in our society,’ he said.
“In 2009, he voted against a hate crimes bill named after Matthew Shepard, the gay Wyoming student murdered in 1998, that extended federal hate crime protections to people victimized because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
“As state attorney general in 1995, he argued against a decision by the Alabama Circuit Court to order the state to remedy funding inequities between the poorest school districts, which were heavily black, and their wealthiest, which were predominantly white. He did so on the grounds that taxing and spending power lay with the legislature, not the courts.”
The president-elect could do a lot better than Jeff Sessions in seeking an attorney general. I don’t expect the Senate to reject Sessions.
I do, though, expect senators to demand that the AG-designate answer some direct and probing questions about his views relating to equal treatment for all Americans.