UPDATE: Rep. Diana DeGette of Denver says “hell no” to Sen. Jeff Sessions:
“As the president’s top advisor on matters of law and justice, the man or woman in this position must possess a firm commitment to civil rights,” DeGette said. “However, Senator Sessions’ regressive record on immigration, LGBT equality and civil liberties, along with his shocking comments on the NAACP and the KKK, make him unequivocally unfit to serve in this role. I urge President-elect Trump not to make this nomination, and instead to make good on his promise to unify our divided nation. And if he does not, members of the Senate must reject Senator Sessions for this critical role.”
Sessions is the U.S. Senate’s leading anti-immigration voice, urging severe restrictions on visas and drastically expanded immigration enforcement while blocking practical reforms to our country’s outdated immigration system. While in the Senate, he has vigorously opposed the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and voted for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Earlier in his career, when nominated by President Ronald Reagan to be a federal judge, he was turned down by the Senate amid repeated allegations of racist language, criticism of the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP, and a purported joke about the Ku Klux Klan. While advising the campaign earlier this year, Senator Sessions supported Trump’s suggestion to institute a ban on Muslims entering the United States and his opposition to the 14th Amendment, which confers citizenship on people born in this country.
“This proposed nomination is another disturbing sign of where the Trump administration is headed,” DeGette noted. “If Senator Sessions was not fit to be a federal judge, he’s not fit to be Attorney General. His actions and attitudes on civil liberties make him completely wrong for the job.”
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL).
Westword’s Michael Roberts reports, as news breaks today that GOP President-elect Donald Trump wants Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions to be the next U.S. Attorney General:
In an interview with Westword, Marijuana Majority chairman and founder Tom Angell also expressed concern about the marijuana views of the person who Trump would choose to fill the position of attorney general in his administration. Among the names floated at the time were New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who’d vowed to crack down on Colorado’s marijuana system during his own failed run for the presidency, and onetime New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, another well-known weed hater.
In the end, neither Christie nor Giuliani made the cut. Instead, Trump has nominated Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, one of his earliest supporters in the U.S. Senate and among those who stuck by him even after the release of an Access Hollywood recording in which the president-elect joked about groping women.
Sessions has plenty of political baggage, much of it owing to what NPR has described as his “history of racially provocative remarks” — one of which had to do with marijuana. After his 1986 nomination as a federal district judge by then-President Ronald Reagan, he was said to have maintained that he thought members of the Ku Klux Klan “were okay until I found out they smoked pot.”
It’s expected that Sessions will strongly deny any racist sentiments during his confirmation hearings in the Senate–where he will face many friendly fellow Republicans, but could also fail spectacularly if the questions about his long record from Democrats get the better of him. As for marijuana, we doubt Sessions will offer the same defense despite the growing number of states that have legalized. Despite Sessions’ conservative ideology at least nominally in favor of “states’ rights,” he can be expected to blissfully ignore the Tenth Amendment when it comes to stopping the spread of the evil devil-weed.
Obviously, Sessions’ history of racism is much more disturbing than Sessions’ opposition to marijuana, but neither is likely to make him a very popular figure in Colorado. Or for that matter California, Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, or any other state that has legalized marijuana in recent years.
In a perfect world, the racism would be enough to disqualify Sessions, as it did when he was nominated for a federal judgeship in the 1980s. But perhaps Trump can be persuaded to reconsider Sessions by the money being made on weed?
After all, he is a businessman.