The Senate Judiciary Committee has been reviewing Jeff Sessions’ history at the Confirmation Hearing since this past Tuesday. With the majority of conversation surrounding an attack on African Americans, civil rights, and “Law and Order,” you would be confused between what decade you were in. You’ve probably already heard a multitude of things about Sessions for months, but the most important thing you should walk away with after any of the clips you may have watched is this:
Is this man suitable to serve as our nation’s top law enforcer? Does he understand that while he may have been serving as a Senator for more than 20 years, that his remarks cannot be said to win votes? Does he understand that his constituency is no longer within the perimeter of Alabama and that he must now serve every individual who is living within this country?
The Committee evaluated Sessions on a multitude of items, ranging from law enforcement, mass incarceration, voting rights and all other civil rights, negative rhetoric and attacks on women, immigration and etc. Most importantly, with each question Senate Democrats and Republicans, as well as other representatives that identity.
Sessions started the hearing by introducing himself as a “man of my word” that will uphold the law of the land equally amongst all, but his records and remarks made throughout history have chosen to show otherwise. When it comes to immigration, he has chosen to oppose every immigration reform bill that has been placed in front of him. Though when he was asked by Senator Leahy about supporting a ban on Muslim immigration, he insisted that he has not and will not support banning Muslims as a religious group, but suggested it may be appropriate to take religious affiliation into consideration as it may be a threat to American national security.
On the second day of the confirmation hearing, a bipartisan African American panel consisted of representatives and civil rights leader John Lewis, alongside Sen. Cory Booker that insisted that Sessions has demonstrated an infringement on civil rights and justice, strongly believing that Sessions as Attorney General would weaken the movement made for so many Americans across the country.
With the hearing all said and done, critics of Sessions still strongly believe that he does not understand the basic definition of racism which have influenced his belief in things such as there being no racial biases in law enforcement.
Lewis and Booker also addressed Sessions’ criticism of the Justice Department previously working pointing out voting practices that directly disenfranchised predominantly African American communities. He denied the allegations of civil rights injustices repeatedly but those people who have known him for years, like Rep. Barbara Lee, reminded us through Twitter that when the Supreme Court struck down the Voting Rights Act, Sessions responded with “good news…for the South.”
The 2013 Supreme Court decision she was referring to was about a portion of the Voting Rights Act that created a list of states with a history of voting discrimination under Department of Justice oversight. When asked by Sen. Klobuchar on voting ID laws, he insisted that he did not believe they were racially biased and that when they are drafted properly, they are legitimate.
With the hearing all said and done, critics of Sessions still strongly believe that he does not understand the basic definition of racism which have influenced his belief in things such as there being no racial biases in law enforcement. His ability to understand that racism is a systemic issue is almost null, and his commitment to the civil rights of Americans is still ambiguous. The answers that Sessions shared with the rest of the world earlier this week will help Congress and the Judiciary Committee to understanding if Sessions shall be moving forward.