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Congresswoman Waters Urges the U.S. Senate to Reject Jeff Sessions’ AG Nomination

January 5, 2017
Press Release

Congresswoman Waters Urges the U.S. Senate to Reject Jeff Sessions’ AG Nomination


January 5, 2017


WASHINGTON, D.C. Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43), Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee, joined her colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus in a press conference to urge the United States Senate to oppose Sen. Jeff Sessions’ confirmation to serve as the next Attorney General of the United States. Below are Congresswoman Waters’ remarks as prepared for delivery:


“Like all of my colleagues here today, I remain deeply concerned by President-elect Trump’s choice of Senator Jeff Sessions to serve as the next Attorney General of the United States.  

“Senator Sessions has a long legacy of insensitive, racially charged comments against minorities in this country. Senator Sessions has expressed contempt for civil rights groups advocating on behalf of the African-American community, calling the NAACP and the ACLU ‘un-American’ and ‘communist inspired.’  In the 1980s, then U.S. Attorney Sessions oversaw a case about a young black man who was kidnapped, brutally murdered, and hung by two members of the KKK. When Sessions learned that the perpetrators of the crime had smoked marijuana on the same evening he said aloud that he thought the KKK was ‘OK, until he learned they smoked pot.’

“This behavior ultimately cost him a federal judgeship in 1986, during which in his confirmation hearing former colleagues revealed that he used the N-word. At the time, Senator Ted Kennedy warned that he would be a ‘throwback to a shameful era” and it was ultimately his Alabama counterpart conservative Democrat Howell Heflin who cast the deciding vote against him. Despite his record, Senator Sessions brazenly characterized himself as “not a racist” or someone who is ‘insensitive to blacks.’

“On immigration, Senator Sessions has opposed almost every immigration reform bill in the past two decades that includes a pathway to citizenship. Senator Sessions has also fought against legal immigration, including guest worker programs and visa programs. He was labeled by the conservative National Review as “amnesty’s worst enemy” in 2014.  

“Senator Sessions is also no ally to the LGBT community either, having opposed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, which expanded federal hate crime protections to victims of violence due to their gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability. Sessions also voted in support of a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.  As Attorney General, Senator Sessions could neutralize this and other laws protecting vulnerable people.   

“Every American should be concerned about how and whether Senator Sessions as Attorney General would enforce the bedrock civil protections of every individual, particularly those of our most vulnerable citizens.  Given his track record, it’s clear that he would not.  I urge the Senate to reject his nomination.”