Donald Trump announced last week that Jeff Sessions, a republican from Alabama, was his pick for Attorney General to the horror of civil rights groups everywhere. Not only does Sessions have a history of making racist comments but he has vigorously opposed pro-LGBTQ and civil rights legislation throughout his career.
In 2009, Sessions opposed the Matthew Sheppard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act according to Mother Jones. This act sought to offer protections to people who were the victims of crimes based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. The law also expanded the kinds of crimes that could be prosecuted as hate crimes at the federal level.
And while the bill did pass despite Session’s opposition, he could potentially neutralize it as the attorney general.
“The law mandated that the attorney general—or a designee—sign off on all criminal prosecutions brought under the act,” writes Brandon Ellington Paterson of Mother Jones. “Given Sessions’ opposition to the bill, some civil rights groups fear that, as attorney general, Sessions would not aggressively enforce the law.”
Brian Levin, the director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, said that he feels it is a “legitimate question as to how Sessions will be prosecuting a statute that he was one of the chief opponents of.”
Sessions was also critical of President Obama and the repealing of the Defense of Marriage Act in 2011.
LGBTQ Nation reports that Session’s aforementioned racist comments barred him from being nominated as a judge, even in a senate that had the GOP as the majority. Surely someone deemed too racist to be a judge shouldn’t be a top pick for Attorney General.
h/t: Mother Jones