January 10, 2017
Press Contact: Olivia Alperstein
Progressive Congress Opposes the Nomination of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General
Washington, D.C. — If personnel is policy, then when President-elect Donald Trump nominated Senator Jeff Sessions for the position of Attorney General in his new administration, Trump basically said, "We're planning the new Jim Crow. The best Jim Crow. The bigger, better Jim Crow. All the other Jim Crows are going to look like Jim Pigeons."
As Attorney General, Jeff Sessions would oversee enforcement of laws regarding voting rights, civil rights, police brutality, criminal justice reform, drug policy reform, and many other issues. Yet, Sessions’ remarks on race cost him a federal judicial appointment in 1986 during a historic confirmation hearing.
The nation cannot afford to go back to the pre-Civil Rights era. Voting districts are still being gerrymandered to disenfranchise people of color, states trying to enact illegal poll taxes, ex-convicts denied the right to vote for life, voter ID laws that make it harder for poor people and people of color to vote, and people turned away from polls at the discretion of a poll worker who doesn't like the way they look. We have made great progress in achieving voting rights for all citizens, but guaranteeing them is another matter. We have a long fight ahead of us, and we are not willing to go back one step.
Jeff Sessions actively worked against the Civil Rights Movement and called the Voting Rights Act an “intrusive piece of legislation.” He has championed restricting voting rights. He represents the chapter of the history textbook where a child turns to a parent and asks, "Where were you? Did you fight against this? How could you all have let this happen?" I don't know about you, but I am not ready to explain to my children how we rolled back civil rights because we allowed a politician famous for being racist to control how our country's laws are enforced. To control how our law enforcement officers treat people of color, LGBT people, and immigrants and control our nation's response to allegations of policy brutality and hate crimes.
“Sessions represents a threat to progress on racial equity, judicial reform, and systemic enfranchisement and empowerment of historically marginalized people,” said Dr.Gabriela Lemus, President of Progressive Congress. “We recognize that Trump rode into power playing up a wave of fear and hatred, and running on a platform that wasn't so much a dog-whistle to white supremacists as a bullhorn. If Trump is going to assume the presidency, the highest office in the land, representing all Americans from all walks of life, he must acknowledge that Sessions has no place in a White House Cabinet. Personnel is policy.”