Jeff Sessions
Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Being “very concerned” doesn’t even begin to cover it:

Incoming U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer on Friday said he is “very concerned” about Republican U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s selection of Senator Jeff Sessions as attorney general and indicated there would be tough questioning in the chamber’s confirmation process.

“Given some of his past statements and his staunch opposition to immigration reform, I am very concerned about what he would do with the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice and want to hear what he has to say,” Schumer said in a statement.

Everyone, of every race, religion and gender should be opposed to the idea of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III heading the Department of Justice. As Democratic senators, however, it is a absolute duty to remain united in opposition and to do everything within their power to convince at least two of their Republican colleagues to join them in rejecting this insane nomination.

This will require a serious effort and a massive education project for the public. It may not be successful. It probably won’t be successful. But minority groups in this country absolutely have the right to demand and expect nothing less than a full effort.

If the Democrats in the Senate think they should be courteous to a colleague and that their base will stand for it, they are frankly out of their damn minds.

Sessions is as staunch an opponent of black civil and voting rights as you will find in Congress or in a position of elected responsibility anywhere in the country.

His record as a prosecutor, state Attorney General and senator could not be more clear on this.

Trump may as well have appointed a reanimated George Wallace to head the Justice Department.

And if any Democratic senator tries to soft-pedal that basic indisputable fact, they’ll have the undying enmity of everyone in the Democratic base who gives a damn about civil rights.


I have some advice for Schumer. He should go to the other side of Capitol Hill and sit down with Rep. John Lewis. If John Lewis says it’s okay to confirm Sessions or to acquiesce to his nomination without a bloody battle, then that will be acceptable behavior.

I don’t think that’s what John Lewis will say, though.

Do you?

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Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at