National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial issued the following statement regarding the nominee for U.S. Attorney General:
The National Urban League is deeply troubled by the nomination of Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, who has called the Voting Rights Act “intrusive,” to serve as Attorney General of the United States.
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.
His 1986 confirmation hearings after President Reagan nominated him to the federal bench revealed his deep hostility to civil rights laws as US attorney for the Southern District of Alabama. Attention focused on his failed and possibly retaliatory prosecution of three voting rights organizers, and disturbing comments such as calling a white attorney who defended black voting rights “a disgrace to his race.”
The committee rejected Sessions’ nomination, having made what Sen. Ted Kennedy called a ”clear and convincing case to gross insensitivity to the questions of race.”
We expect the committee also to examine closely his public statements and speeches, the composition of his Senate staff, and his association with John Tanton, a hate group leader who, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, “has white nationalist beliefs and has written that to maintain American culture, ‘a European-American majority’ is required.”
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.
We, along with a broader civil rights coalition, are conducting our own review of Sen. Sessions’ record. If our examination does not determine that he is fit to serve as chief enforcer of civil rights laws, it will be our responsibility to oppose his nomination. We encourage all senators who are champions of civil rights to refrain from committing their support to this nomination until our examination is complete.
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