Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, III: Unfit For A Federal Judgeship, Unfit To Be Attorney General Of The United States

Next week, Senate Republicans will begin their process to fast-track nominees for various positions in Donald Trump’s cabinet. One of the most controversial figures in this process that begins on January 10 will be Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, III of Alabama, and nominee for Attorney General of the United States. This nomination is extremely disturbing and distressing. In essence, it represents a throwback to the bygone days of the old South.

In an unprecedented move, The Senate Judiciary Committee is allowing the hearings, now limited to two days, to bypass their usual vetting process. It is unquestionable that Senator Sessions’ record must be carefully scrutinized, given his checkered and extremist views that continue to be expressed even today.

It is inconceivable that a man who was denied a lifetime tenured Federal Judgeship in 1986, a seat on the U. S. Court for the Southern District of Alabama, by his own republican colleagues on the Judiciary Committee, would now be considered and allowed to proceed through the process with minimal to no vetting. Most of us are aware of Senator Sessions’ history of racial insensitivity during his tenure as a U. S. Attorney. As the U. S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, Sessions went out of his way to prosecute civil rights workers in the Alabama “Black Belt” for voter fraud in Black communities, while overlooking the same perceived violations in white communities. One of the workers was an aide to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The focus of these workers was on voter registration and it took a jury only 4 hours to render an acquittal. This is the same Jeff Sessions who labeled the NAACP, the National Council of Churches, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the American Civil Liberties Union as “un-American” and “communist inspired”. As if those denunciations were not enough, Sessions casted a white civil rights lawyer as a “disgrace to his race” for litigating civil rights cases.

Fast-tracking of Sessions’ nomination lay at the feet of his republican colleagues in the Senate, the integrity of his nomination lies in his hands. To date, Sessions continues to withhold from the Judiciary Committee, information surrounding decades of his career. As with any other such nomination, the committee requires complete documentation of employment history, published writings, interviews and speeches. The questionnaire that Sessions has submitted to the committee omits major details from his years as U. S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama from 1981 to 1993, his tenure as Attorney General of Alabama from 1995 to 1997, and his first term as a U. S. Senator from 1997 to 2002.

More recently, there have been several interviews during which he has once again made controversial statements. He is on record giving Donald Trump a pass for making sexist comments stating “everybody knows Trump likes women and uses this kind of talk”. In another interview he stated “the predictions aren’t coming true” about the deleterious effects of climate change. None of these interviews were identified in his questionnaire that he submitted to the Judiciary Committee. Sessions maintains an extreme bias against immigrants, a bias so right wing that it has even alienated many of his republican colleagues.

The irony is that as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sessions chided Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor for what he perceived as incomplete answers in her judiciary committee questionnaire. He went even further during the hearings for Goodwin Liu, nominee for the U. S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, warning that Liu “might be breaking the law” by leaving information out of his questionnaire, punishable by two years in jail. It seems hypocritical that Sessions feels so high minded to slam past nominees for incomplete documents, only to blatantly do even worse himself today.

Cowardice is the greatest vice. A man’s vanity tells him what is honor; his conscience tells him what justice is. The truth is tough and Sessions must face up to this fact. In his attempt to mislead and erase his hateful and willful past and present misdeeds, Sessions continues to thumb his nose at the American people, placing himself above the law.

The U. S. Attorney General is supposed to be the lawyer for the people. He should be above the fray. The U. S. Justice Department has a duty and a responsibility to uphold the laws of the country, protecting all Americans, no matter race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. These responsibilities must apply equally to all, in an even-handed manner. This office has jurisdiction over such vital areas as enforcing civil rights, voting rights protections, prosecution of hate crimes, protecting women’s health clinics and upholding the constitutional right to marry. The Attorney General’s personal views must be set aside.

For republicans to shorten this confirmation process in a burst of self-will may get Sessions through the committee, but this tactic only sends a reverberating message that the cause of equal justice is not on their radar screen. It means that the fortunate and especially the unfortunate, in the end will suffer. The position of U. S. Attorney General is much too important to be rubber-stamped. As noted by Martin Luther King, Jr., “When civil men would seek to perpetuate an unjust status quo, good men must seek to bring into being a real order of justice”.  The nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions, extreme and unrepentant, is surely not a good sign for the future of justice and equality in America.

The 30 year record of racial insensitivity, bias against immigrants, disregard for the rule of law and hostility to the protection of civil rights make Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, III totally unfit to be granted the privilege of serving as the Attorney General of The United States of America.

An Unprincipled Mind: Trump Trying To Adapt The World To Himself

History has proven time and again that good people who stand for what is right and solidly resist what is wrong, have the power to advance the cause of justice. There is goodness in this world, but there is also a measure of evil that continues to branch and multiply with breathtaking speed. But the movement of progress keeps us fresh. As we head into 2017, we cannot afford nor must we allow our nation to be taken back to the days of damming stagnation that plagued us for much of the last fifty years. For those who believe otherwise, there is no place for rule by cabal in these United States of America.

As we forge into the New Year and for the next four years in particular, “We the People” and those in the media, can no longer allow one individual who has been granted such trusted responsibility to continue to get away with what he absolutely knows not to be true, inhumane or not in the best interests of the people of the United States. There can be no retreat from the progress made on behalf of women’s rights, civil rights, voting rights, inequality and pay equity, health care or the promises we have made to our seniors and our veterans. We must not allow the burning inner flame of these accomplishments to be extinguished by an egotistical, self-aggrandizing, uncivil and insecure Commander in Chief, or his factually challenged and often unhinged supporters, most who will soon also realize that they too have been lied to and used simply for personal political gain.

Good judgment is the product of experience. This immediately raises serious questions about Donald Trump, the majority of his cabinet nominees and most of those projected to be a part of his senior management team. Despite his continued proclamations, Trump’s self-praise provides no credible recommendation for his qualifications, his ability to reasonably provide domestic tranquility, his ability and willingness to ensure common sense international relationships, or even his general overall conscience and stability. His zeal to compare, to compete and to have more has been a life-long intentional process with the goal of creating “have-nots” and “others”, a process that he continues to refuse to change even today. This has been an obvious and consistent pattern manifest by Mr. Trump’s business dealings, his refusal to release his tax returns, and his multiple risk taking schemes designed to line his pockets, no matter the effects or consequences laid at the feet of others. This style however will certainly crumble under its own weight once he takes the oath of office. Thereafter, he must quickly learn that it is a mistake to continue to confuse words with knowledge. And he must dissuade himself from making noise for noise’s sake. “Statesman like” decisions can no longer be provided to the gullible in 140 characters.

It is absolutely imperative that Mr. Trump come to grips with the fact that he must now deal with the practical considerations of reality, not just for his sake, but for the sake of all Americans and for the sake of stability throughout the world. His inflammatory rhetoric must cease, as we cannot reach our full potential as Americans living as separate nations within our own nation.

Donald Trump must reassess his principles if he expects to have any semblance of success as a person, and more importantly, as President of the United States. Principled people are comfortable with who they are. Their values are not ideas that flow from their mind, but rather a part of an inclusive mindset that benefits all Americans.

If and until that time occurs, the rest of us must keep our guard up and demand action and accountability from both Mr. Trump and a wayward republican Congress. Our voices must be loud, constant and unafraid of any threats or consequences. We owe nothing less to ourselves or to the future of an already Great America.