Before Senator Jeff Sessions can become the Attorney General under President Donald Trump, he must first be confirmed by the Senate. The last time Sessions faced Senate confirmation, it didn’t go as planned.
In 1986, Jeff Sessions was nominated for a federal judgeship. However, alleged comments he made as Alabama’s US Attorney prevented his nomination from going any further.
Former Assistant Attorney General Thomas Figures, who served under Sessions in the 80’s, claimed Sessions referred to him as “boy” on at least two occasions.
During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Figures also testified that Sessions said he thought the Ku Klux Klan was “OK until he learned that they smoked marijuana”. Sessions later said the comment was made in a joking matter, calling it a “silly comment” and it was never intended to suggest that he supported the Klan. A former Justice Department attorney was there when the comment was made and said he did not interpret it as anything more than a joke.
Sessions is also accused of calling the NAACP and the ACLU “UnAmerican”.
Illinois Representative Luis Gutierrez said in a statement: “If you have nostalgia for the days when blacks kept quiet, gays were in the closet, immigrants were invisible and women stayed in the kitchen, Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions is your man. No senator has fought harder against the hopes and aspirations of Latinos, immigrants, and people of color than Sen. Sessions.”
Sessions has been a huge advocate for the military. He’s also led efforts to bring funding to people living with HIV/Aids in smaller cities like Mobile.
Most Senators who voted against Sessions are either no longer alive or no longer in office. Sessions is gaining support from South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, Alabama Senator Richard Shelby, and local Congressman Bradley Byrne. It begs the question, then, if people really care about comments made 30 years ago?
“Well there may be some Democratic opposition to him but I think he’ll be confirmed by the Senate. He’s been a long time member of the Senate. He has personal relationships with people on both sides of the aisles. It’s going to be very difficult for people to vote against Jeff Sessions,” says Congressman Bradley Byrne.