Today HRC expressed grave concern over President-Elect Donald Trump tapping vehemently anti-LGBTQ Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions to be U.S. Attorney General. If confirmed, Sessions would lead the U.S. Department of Justice, which is tasked with the fair and impartial administration of justice. This troubling appointment is in stark contrast with Trump’s pledge to be a “president for all Americans.”
In Congress, Sessions voted for a Constitutional ban on marriage equality; spoke in opposition of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell; voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA); is a cosponsor of the so-called First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), legislation that could allow Kim Davis-style discrimination against LGBTQ people across the nation; voted against both the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act and expanding hate crimes to include sexual orientation, gender and disability and against repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Sessions also opposed the Voting Rights Act, has voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, opposes immigration reform and has been on the wrong side of every civil rights issue in his long political career. Sessions received a zero on HRC’s congressional scorecard, and the ACLU characterizes his voting record as anti-civil rights.
“It is deeply disturbing that Jeff Sessions, who has such clear animus against so many Americans -- including the LGBTQ community, women and people of color -- could be charged with running the very system of justice designed to protect them,”said HRC President Chad Griffin. “When Donald Trump was elected, he promised to be a president for all Americans, and it is hugely concerning and telling that he would choose a man so consistently opposed to equality as one of his first -- and most important -- cabinet appointees.”
In 1986, Sessions’ nomination for a federal judgeship in was rejected by the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee because of racially charged comments and actions; at the time, Sessions was one of two judicial nominees whose selections were halted by the panel in nearly 50 years. Now, 30 years later, Sessions will face a confirmation hearing from the same legislative body that denied him a federal judgeship due to his overt racism.