Almost two weeks have passed since Election Day, and the president-elect is in the midst of the transition process, deciding who will be in his Cabinet and among his top advisors. Traditionally, presidents have wide latitude when it comes to choosing their cabinets, but Donald Trump’s selection of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) to serve as the Attorney General is one selection that we cannot support.
“We believe that any president should have broad latitude in appointments within their administration,” said NCLR President and CEO, Janet Murguia. “However, the combination of the pivotal role the attorney general has over so many issues of concern for our community and Sen. Jeff Sessions’ egregious track record on those issues makes it impossible for us to support this nomination.”
The Attorney General is the country’s top law enforcement officer and many in the civil rights community, as well as in our communities across in the country, are deeply concerned about what a Department of Justice could look like under the leadership of an individual who has an atrocious record on the issues of most importance to our community.
“On every single issue under the purview of the Justice Department—civil rights, voting rights, criminal justice reform, and immigration most notably—he holds positions diametrically opposed to the Latino community, the civil rights community, and to the mainstream,” said Murguia. “In short, he has been a ‘bad hombre’ when it comes to protecting and expanding the civil rights of millions of people living in this country.”
Sessions, who the Senate once rejected as a federal judge nominee under President Reagan, has a troubling past when it comes to defending civil rights and ensuring protections to minorities. And, as a senator, Mr. Sessions has often been at the helm of opposition to immigration reform, and criminal justice reform, issues that have a profound impact on Latinos.
“Throughout his career, he has been a staunch opponent of progress for historically disenfranchised groups, whether it’s Blacks, Latinos, LGBT Americans, or women. He has been the Senate’s lead roadblock to sensible, bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform. He was a leader in the opposition to the first Latina Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. He has been a proponent of voter suppression efforts under the guise of fighting nonexistent voter fraud. The list goes on and on,” noted Murguía.
We are extremely disappointed in Mr. Trump’s decision to name Sen. Sessions to this very important post. It contradicts both his call for unity in the wake of an unprecedented and vicious election cycle, and his stated desire to be the president for ALL Americans. In tapping Sen. Sessions, Murguia went on to say, Mr. Trump, “has chosen someone who is at best indifferent, and at worst actively hostile to more than half the country, for such a key post.”
We urge the Senate to roundly reject Sen. Sessions’ nomination to serve as Attorney General.