Antigay, Right-Wing Jeff Sessions Will Sail Through Atty. Gen. Confirmation

Sessions

Even with organizations like the Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, and the NAACP waving their hands and yelling at the top of their lungs over Jeff Sessions being named attorney general, the right-wing Alabama senator is likely days away from clinching the powerful position.

With a fierce LGBT activist currently serving as attorney general — Loretta Lynch, an African-American lawyer from New York — minority groups are preparing for a 180-degree turn with Sessions. Sessions was rejected for a federal judgeship in 1986 after being nominated by President Reagan; numerous associates testified that Sessions harbored racist sentiments and even a fondness for the Ku Klux Klan. 

Regardless, Republicans and Democrats are now supporting Sessions's nomination for attorney general. Moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine is one of Sessions's biggest cheerleaders; influential Democratic Delaware Sen. Chris Coons told The Washington Post he "genuinely [likes] him."

(RELATED: Did Susan Collins Just Stab Us in the Back?)

Whether affable or not, Sessions is unquestionably a dangerous demagogue, especially when it comes to opposing LGBT rights; HRC has given Sessions mostly zeroes on its Congressional Scorecard during his tenure in the Senate. Here's a sampling of his LGBT record, via the Human Rights Campaign:

• Sessions has repeatedly supported laws that criminalize LGBT activity, using discriminatory laws to harrass LGBT Alabamans in the 1970s and blasting the Lawrence v. Texas decision, which ended the criminalization of sodomy.
• Sessions supported "don’t ask, don’t tell" and believed it was "pretty effective." On marriage, Sessions cosponsored and voted for the Federal Marriage Amendment, saying he would seek "again and again" to pass an amendment to the United States Constitution prohibiting marriage equality.
• Of the 2015 Obergefell ruling legalizing marriage equality, Sessions said it "goes beyond what I consider to be the realm of reality."
• Sessions has repeatedly opposed hate-crimes protections for LGBTQ Americans — even trying to kill the 2009 Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
• Sessions has actively attempted to block some of the most effective methods of preventing HIV and other STIs — specifically safer-sex education.
• Sessions once tried to terminate the National Endowment for the Arts based on its financial support for a lesbian filmmaker.

"The Attorney General is the top lawyer in the land," Rachel B. Tiven, CEO of Lambda Legal, wrote in a statement. "Their job is to enforce the law and protect the civil rights of everyone in this country. Jeff Sessions has demeaned and dismissed LGBT people at every turn — especially those of us who are also immigrants, women, and people of color. He is a lifelong opponent of civil rights, and he is unfit to serve as Attorney General."

As the nation's top law enforcement official, Sessions will guide policy on voting rights, women's rights, and policing; Sessions voted against the Violence Against Women Act and applauded the Supreme Court decision that gutted voting protections for minorities. One hundred African-American faith leaders penned an open letter to senators pleading with them to reject Sessions.

"As faith leaders, our communities count on us to protect sacred rights and promote justice, and that's why we're called upon to oppose Jeff Sessions for attorney general," Minister Leslie Watson Malachi, director of African American Religious Affairs for People for the American Way, said in a statement. "Not only does Jeff Sessions' history of persecuting civil rights leaders and organizations disqualify him from serving as attorney general, his actions as a senator that have endangered women's lives and threatened our communities' voting rights make clear just how unfit he is to serve as the attorney general, the 'people's lawyer.'" 

Over 1,200 law professors already called on the Senate to reject the senator. But with even moderate Republicans supporting him, Sessions seems a lock as the nation's next attorney general.

Tags: Politics, Law

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