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Civil Rights Groups: Sessions Threatens to 'Turn Back the Clock'

Image: Civil Rights Groups: Sessions Threatens to 'Turn Back the Clock'

Sen. Jeff Sessions (AP)

By    |   Friday, 18 Nov 2016 05:26 PM

Civil rights and pro-abortion groups Friday ripped President-elect Donald Trump's choice of Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general, charging that the Alabama Republican will roll back decades of progress on equality issues.

"Jeff Sessions has a decades-long record, from his early days as a prosecutor to his present role as a Senator, of opposing civil rights and equality," said Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

"It is unimaginable that he could be entrusted to serve as the chief law-enforcement officer for this nation's civil rights laws," she said. "This is yet another signal from the incoming administration that it is not only prepared to turn its back on equality, it is actively working to continue to sow division and undo decades of progress."

Besides Sessions as attorney general, Trump also announced that he would nominate Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo to head the CIA director and Michael Flynn, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, as national security adviser.

Sessions and Pompeo face confirmation by the Senate, whereas Flynn does not.

Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, said that the organization was "troubled" by Sessions' upcoming nomination — noting that he has called the Voting Rights Act of 1964 "intrusive."

"We expect the Senate Judiciary Committee will conduct a thorough and complete examination to determine if he is fit to serve as the nation's chief enforcer of civil rights law.

"Every American should be concerned about the direction of the U.S. Department of Justice and oppose any nominee who threatens to turn back the clock on civil rights by 50 years," Morial said.

ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero said that, while his group does not take positons on presidential or judicial nominations, "we do, however, educate the American people and the Congress about nominees' records and past positions."

Regarding Sessions, Romero said that the senator "has called the ACLU un-American and Communist — assertions we flatly reject.

"His positions on LGBT rights, capital punishment, abortion rights, and presidential authority in times of war have been contested by the ACLU and other civil rights organizations.

"As the nation’s highest-ranking law enforcement official, the attorney general is charged with protecting the rights of all Americans," he said.

"In his confirmation hearings, senators, the media, and the American public should closely examine his stances on these key issues to ensure we can have confidence in his ability to uphold the Constitution and our laws on behalf of all Americans."

Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, was particularly harsh in her criticism of Sessions.

"The last person women and families need in this job is someone who has repeatedly given a pass to individuals who commit acts of violence against abortion clinics, doesn't take sexual assault seriously, and was determined to be too racist by a GOP-led Senate to become a federal judge," she said.

"But that's who Jeff Sessions is," Hogue added. "His record of misogyny and racism makes him unfit to be the country's top lawyer.

"The American people deserve far better — but with Donald Trump at the helm, we know we won't get it."

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Civil rights and pro-abortion groups Friday ripped President-elect Donald Trump's choice of Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general, charging that the Alabama Republican will roll back decades of progress on equality issues.
civil, rights, groups, jeff sessions, attorney, general
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2016-26-18
Friday, 18 Nov 2016 05:26 PM
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