NCTE Opposes Nomination of Hardline Civil Rights Opponent for Attorney General
NCTE strongly opposes the nomination of Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General. Senator Sessions has made a career of obstructing civil rights, making racist remarks, and attacking the basic humanity of LGBT people, immigrants, and other communities.
In 1986, the Senate rejected Sessions for a federal judgeship because of a history of racist remarks he had made as a United States Attorney, including using racial slurs, calling the NAACP “un-American,” warning a Black attorney to “be careful what you say to white folks,” and calling a white attorney who took on voting rights cases “a disgrace to his race.” During the same period, Sessions used laws intended to protect voters to prosecute voting rights activists.
Sessions has been for decades the Senate’s most hardline opponent of any compassion for immigrants, calling consistently for a massive border wall, mass deportations, and filling federal prisons with border-crossers.
Sessions has also been a virulent opponent of the dignity and freedom of LGBT people for decades. As Alabama Attorney General in the 1990s, Sessions worked to deny funding to Gay-Straight Alliances at state universities because of what he called LGBT people’s “illegal, sexually deviate activities.” Sessions was sued and his policy was overturned for violating the First Amendment. In the Senate, Sessions has consistently opposed any legal recognition or protections for LGBT people, including the 2009 Hate Crimes Prevention Act and protections for LGBT survivors to access victims’ services under the Violence Against Women Act, as well as the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Sessions was a leading proponent of amending the US Constitution to prevent LGBT couples from marrying.
In short, Sessions has long been an extremist even within his own party in his hostility to civil rights, and could do untold damage to our nation’s civil rights laws and our commitment to equal justice for all. NCTE joins hundreds of other civil rights leaders in calling on President-elect Trump to retract this nomination or the Senate to reject it.