That question will be at the center of a contentious debate concerning President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general, with Committee confirmation hearing for the 70-year-old, lifelong conservative beginning Tuesday afternoon.
An answer to such a central question about the next attorney general’s ideologies could likely be found by combing through a paper trail of his political career. The committee could analyze interviews from decades-past, legislation they’ve fought for and signed onto and even transcripts from speeches and published opinion pieces to provide enough resources to make a decision on the fate of the major cabinet position. However, Sessions’ history of defending – and opposing – civil rights issues is spotty, to say the least, and he reportedly hasn’t even revealed all of the required information for hearings to technically begin.
BATTLE ON THIS ONE
As Democrats gear up to battle the incoming administration’s most divisive cabinet nominations, it seems even Sessions’ colleagues can’t seem to agree on whether the man who could become the president’s closest advisor on law enforcement truly supports equal rights under the law for all Americans, according to multiple interviews with International Business Times.
Sessions, who would head the Department of Justice and serve as the chief law enforcement officer in the Trump administration, failed to deliver the Senate Judiciary Committee countless interview transcripts from his tenure as Alabama’s top federal prosecutor throughout the 1980s and 1990s – around the same time a Senate Judiciary Committee found him to be “too racist” to serve as a federal judge in 1986.
MOST CONTROVERSIAL CASES
Regardless, some of his most-controversial cases as a West Alabama attorney will likely come back to haunt him on Tuesday – among them, a infamous 1985 voter fraud case targeting three African-American civil rights activists which is, in part, responsible for disrupting Sessions’ last Senate confirmation hearing, making him one of only two rejected federal judicial nominees in a 48-year period. A jury acquitted all three activists of any wrongdoing, as the decision was eventually hailed as a “rebuke of a racially and politically motivated attack by the Reagan administration, via prosecutors under Sessions,” the Washington Post reported.
Ken Blackwell, the head of Trump’s domestic transition team, was realistic yet confident in Sessions’ ability to defend all races as the next attorney general during an interview with IBT.
“It’s unfair to paint [Sessions] as the next Martin Luther King of the 21st century,” Blackwell said, but claimed the Alabama senator “would be in the forefront of the parade for the full appreciation of all Americans.”
“I think he is a friend of civil rights activists who are looking for a balance and fairness in our judicial system – he is a leading advocate for the rule of law,” Blackwell added. “He’s been fair, balanced. He’s always been respectful of the individual rights of all citizens.”