Attorney General Nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions – Not “The People’s Lawyer”

Sessions’ Decades-Long Record on LGBTQ Rights and Civil Rights Is Troubling and Demonstrates That He Is Too Divisive, Too Extreme, and Will Not Protect the Interests and Rights of All Americans.

Senator Jeff Sessions

The U.S. Attorney General, often referred to as “the people’s lawyer,” is the chief law enforcement officer responsible for enforcing the nation’s civil rights laws and fairly and impartially advancing justice for all Americans. President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Attorney General, Senator Jeff Sessions, has a decades-long record in public service that paints a very clear picture of a man who is divisive and extreme and far too often has stood on the wrong side of history on civil rights issues.  Sessions’ shameful record on LGBTQ rights, as well as other civil rights issues, makes clear that he would be unable or unwilling to protect the rights and liberties of LGBTQ Americans and would threaten to turn back the clock on decades of progress on LGBTQ rights. 

Throughout his career, Sessions has actively opposed LGBTQ rights and equality, making clear that he does not support LGBTQ people, our relationships, or our families. While in the Senate, Sessions has:  

As a self-proclaimed “champion and defender of traditional Alabama values,” Sessions has made no secret of the fact that he believes marriage should be between and aman and a woman and that children should have a mother and father. Completely ignoring decades of scientific research to the contrary, Sessions asserted that “objective science” shows that children do better in “traditional” two-parent families “with a husband and wife” and openly encouraged governments to enact legislation that would be discriminatory and harmful to LGBTQ-headed families.

As if all of this were not reason enough to reject Sessions’ nomination for Attorney General, he has an equally troubling record on other important civil rights issues, especially for women, people of color, immigrants, and students with disabilities (see additional testimony here).  Sessions’ shameful civil rights record was cause 30 years ago for a Republican-led Senate to reject his nomination for a federal judgeship in Alabama, and his opposition to civil rights and equality since that time have prompted several letters opposing his nomination for Attorney General, including letters submitted by over 400 civil rights organizations, former Massachusetts Governor Duval Patrick, and more than 1100 law school professors.    

Sessions’ record stands in direct conflict to the responsibilities of the office of Attorney General and makes clear that he is anything but “the people’s lawyer.”  If confirmed as Attorney General, Sessions would be charged with enforcing the very civil rights protections that he has spent his career opposing. His shameful record on civil and human rights makes clear that he is not capable of serving the important function of fairly and impartially enforcing the nation’s civil rights laws and protecting the rights of all Americans.   

For these reasons, and many more too numerous to address in one blog post, the Senate should reject Sen. Sessions’ nomination for Attorney General.

Additional Resources:

  • NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund Report in Opposition to Sessions’ Attorney General Nomination (PDF)
  • ACLU summary of Sessions’ statements, voting record, and policy positions (PDF)
  • National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Open Letter Opposing Sessions’ Nomination