Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions will appear Tuesday morning before his colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee to begin his confirmation hearing to serve as Attorney General of the United States.
The populist Senator’s partisan opponents and their allies in corporate media have done everything in their power to smear Sessions’ good name.
Here are a few facts about the man who is likely to be the nation’s next Attorney General:
(1) Jeff Sessions has spent five decades as a champion of civil rights.
From campaigning against George Wallace’s wife as a young Republican in the 1960s to demonstrating, what famed civil rights attorney Barry Kowalski described as, an “unequivocal commitment to the prosecution of criminal civil rights cases” during his time as southern Alabama’s U.S. attorney, Sessions has stood at the vanguard of the great civil rights battles throughout modern history.
Sessions has been credited as having been indispensable in obtaining the first death penalty conviction of a white man for the murder of a black citizen in Alabama since before World War I. He’s also a vocal admirer of civil rights icon Rosa Parks, and led the effort to award her the Congressional gold medal, Fox News has reported. In 2010, Sessions even introduced a resolution to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the publication of his favorite novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, which he has described as “one of America’s truly great literary works” that is valued by “all those who believe in fairness, equality and justice.”
(2) Jeff Sessions is the intellectual architect of a new civil rights agenda to help unemployed African Americans into good-paying jobs.
As a U.S. Senator, Sessions has done more than perhaps any other Republican to reach out to the black community and champion their interests. Indeed, no lawmaker has worked more tirelessly than Sessions to uphold the legacy of civil rights leader and late Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, who argued for immigration reductions to prioritize the jobs and wages of African American workers. Sessions has stood up to both parties’ establishments as they’ve pushed for corporatist trade and immigration policies that have turned black Americans into refugees in their own communities—these issues have arguably become among the great civil rights issues of our time.
“Immigrants and other minority groups are the ones that are suffering the most from excessive immigration and this flawed trade policy of ours,” Sessions told the Daily Caller last year while discussing the importance of advancing a pro-American worker trade and immigration agenda. “A nation owes its first obligation to its own citizens,” Sessions separately explained in 2014. “But our current immigration policy advantages the citizens of other countries over our own. Undeniably, one of the groups most hurt economically by unjust immigration policies are African-American citizens,” Sessions said. “[T]he long-term large-scale importation of foreign labor has substantially eroded wages in the black community.”
As U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner Peter Kirsanow has explained, Sessions “has done more to protect the jobs and enhance the wages of black workers than anyone in either house of Congress over the last 10 years… Of all the Senators and public officials that I’ve dealt with, I cannot think of anyone who has been more devoted to issues related to wages and employment levels of all Americans, but particularly black American workers.”
“Senator Sessions has been a leader in the fight for preserving American jobs and ensuring opportunities for African American workers,” civil rights attorney and founder of the Black American Leadership Alliance, Leah Durant, told Breitbart.
(3) It is largely ignored by corporate media, but Sessions has also risked more professionally than perhaps any lawmaker in Washington to advance the interests of American workers.
Unafraid to buck his own party’s donors and leaders in his effort to protect American workers, Sessions led the fight against the Paul Ryan-backed controversial expansion to the H-2 visa program, which a 2015 Buzzfeed exposé revealed is being used to disproportionately lay off and replace black American workers. According to the report, a supervisor at Hamilton Growers told workers amid mass layoffs: “All you black American people, f**k you all … just go to the office and pick up your check.” While the report went virtually ignored by most members of Congress, Sessions’ office sought to give sunlight to the discriminatory hiring practices exposed by the Buzzfeed investigation.
Sessions has also publicly called out special interest donors such as Mark Zuckerberg, Carlos Slim, Rupert Murdoch, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Sheldon Adelson for pushing for low-wage, high-immigration policies that displace American workers. Many have suspected that as recompense for his willingness to take on his own party, GOP leadership pushed Sessions out of his Budget Committee Chairmanship in favor of Republican leadership ally, Mike Enzi.
(4) Sessions’ 20-year career in the U.S. Senate may be the most spotless of any Senator in the post-World War II era.
Despite being the top target for every far-left group under the sun, Sessions’ opponents cannot identify a single action he has taken as a U.S. Senator that is unethical or self-serving. Among his colleagues, Sessions is known for being unfailingly honest, polite, kind and decent. He has forged relationships with senators on both sides of the aisle.
Indeed, his partisan opponents have but one single attack against Sessions from his decades of public service to use against him: namely, Ted Kennedy’s successful Borking of Sessions during his 1986 nomination for a federal judgeship by Ronald Reagan.
(5) All major allegations against Sessions from three decades ago have been disproven, discredited, or debunked.
CLAIM: Sessions prosecuted civil rights activists in a 1985 voter fraud case based on racial motivations.
This allegation has been disproven. Evidence shows that as southern Alabama’s U.S. Attorney, Sessions prosecuted the 1985 voter fraud case in order to ensure a fair election for black citizens of Perry County. In the 1985 case, three black defendants were accused of having altered the absentee ballots of black voters in order to thwart the election of black Democratic candidates, whom the defendants opposed, and instead to help hand the election over to candidates the defendants favored. LaVon Phillips, a 26-year-old African American legal assistant to the Perry County district attorney, testified on Sessions behalf in his 1986 confirmation hearing—explaining that Sessions was justified to bring the case forward. So too did Reese Billingsea, a black Democratic official who was afraid that the defendants were seeking to steal the election through the use of absentee ballots. In his testimony, Billingslea praised Sessions’ “professionalism” in handling the 1985 voter fraud case.
Albert Turner Jr., the current commissioner of Perry County and son of the two defendants Sessions prosecuted in the 1985 case (Albert and Evelyn Turner), has endorsed Sessions for Attorney General and has explained that Sessions was simply doing his job in prosecuting the case against his parents. “He was a prosecutor at the Federal level with a job to do. He was presented with evidence by a local District Attorney that he relied on, and his office presented the case. That’s what a prosecutor does. I believe him when he says that he was simply doing his job,” Turner said in a written letter last week endorsing Sessions.
CLAIM: Sessions called Thomas Figures, an African American and former colleague, “boy.”
Sessions says this never happened and the allegation was vigorously refuted by everyone in the office whom Figures claimed to have witnessed it. Figures himself had to amend his testimony on this matter— he originally claimed that he was “regularly” called boy, only later going on to deny his former testimony that he was called boy “regularly”. Witnesses, including the Sessions’ Democratic predecessor who had himself hired Figures, testified that Figures appeared “disaffected” and “had some difficulty” working in a Republican office. One witness described Figures as an employee with “bad attitude problem” and a “persecution complex”. At the time he testified against Sessions, Figures also had personal and financial ties to the defendants in the Perry County voter fraud case, which Figures failed to disclose during his testimony.
CLAIM: Sessions once said that he was OK with the KKK until he found out they smoked pot.
This allegation has been completely debunked. The accusation pertains to a joke Sessions is said to have made in the presence of Thomas Figures and as many as two civil rights attorneys— both of whom immediately recognized it to have been meant humorously. The joke was made as Sessions’ office was prosecuting the Klan and as Sessions was personally pushing for a well-known klansman to be given the death penalty. While working on the case, Sessions was informed that the prosecution was struggling to collect evidence because some of the klansmen had been smoking marijuana and were unable recall crucial events. Sessions said that he was not aware that the Klan smoked marijuana and sarcastically joked that he had thought they were okay until he was informed of such. The civil rights attorneys who heard the joke testified that it was “operating room humor” and there was “no question in my mind” it was meant humorously. As Rich Lowry has explained, any rational human being would immediately understand that “the point of the mordant comment was that Sessions was referring to the very least of the Klan’s sins.” Indeed, the humor is predicated upon the condition that the joke teller believes the Klan is evil— otherwise the joke doesn’t make any sense.
CLAIM: Jeff Sessions said the NAACP was un–American.
Sessions denies ever having said the NAACP was un-American. As Senator Jeremiah Denton remarked during the 1986 hearing, Sessions “never said he thought that the NAACP or the ACLU were flatly un-American or Communist inspired, yet he has been convicted of it in the media of our land.”
CLAIM: Sessions described a white civil rights lawyer as a disgrace to his race.
This allegation was completely discredited. Sessions denies having ever made this statement. The allegation was leveled by Gerry Hebert, a leftist who now directs the voting rights and redistricting program at the George Soros-funded Campaign Legal Center. During the 1986 hearing, Hebert discredited his own testimony— raising the specter of perjury and defamation— by smearing Sessions with fabricated and demonstrably false allegations regarding an FBI voting investigation, which Sessions had no involvement in and which Hebert eventually to recant.
The 1986 hearing is not the only time Hebert has fabricated false claims of racial discrimination. J. Christian Adams has noted that Hebert “has a history of crying wolf about claims of racial discrimination” against innocent people, so much so that in one instance a federal court imposed sanctions upon Hebert’s team at the Department of Justice and publically chastised Hebert’s team— writing that it was “unconscionable” that they would “carelessly” hurl “unfounded allegations” of racial discrimination and impugn a person’s good name without any regard for the truth.
(6) Sessions has been endorsed by some of the most prominent African American leaders in his home state of Alabama— including top democrats.
Sessions has been endorsed by Sen. Quinton Ross, the Democratic leader of the Alabama Senate and one of the highest ranking African American leaders in the state. He’s also been endorsed by Regina Benjamin, a Hillary Clinton supporter and former Surgeon General under President Obama, who is an African American Alabamian. Fred D. Gray, an African American and Alabamian civil rights attorney who has represented both Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and Rosa Parks, has similarly praised Sessions and wrote him a letter congratulating him on the news of his appointment. Sessions has also won the endorsement of Will Huntly, a former colleague of his, who has repeatedly explained that he’s never witnessed Sessions exhibit any racial insensitivity in the decades that they’ve known one another.
As a result of Sessions’ “excellent” reputation, in 1986, he won the support of the Honorable Cain Kennedy, an African American judge on Alabama’s 13th judicial circuit court. In a letter he signed with the other circuit judges, Kennedy endorsed Sessions for the federal judgeship and asserted that he was “confident” Sessions “would rule impartially in all matters presented to him” and that the court would be “fortunate” to have someone of Sessions’ stature.