AL.com reported that civil rights leaders held news conferences in several Alabama cities Tuesday to voice concerns about Sessions becoming the nation’s top law enforcement official.
The controversy stems from allegations that the former Alabama attorney general has made racist statements, which he denies. President Ronald Reagan nominated him for federal district judge in 1986, which was derailed during Senate hearings when a former Justice Department employee testified that he heard Sessions’ racist remarks.
It was alleged that Sessions called a Black attorney “boy” multiple times, referred to civil rights groups as “un-American” and joked that he thought the Ku Klux Klan was “OK, until he learned that they smoked marijuana.”
The civil rights leaders said Tuesday they also have other issues with the Sessions nomination.
Birmingham NAACP head Hezekiah Johnson stated: “Our main concern is centered around the reality of voter suppression. We have found no evidence of his ability, past or present, to be impartial and unbiased as the chief law enforcement officer of the United States of America, especially in the areas of civil rights, voting rights and equal protection under the law.”
According to AL.com, Sessions’ supporters claim the senator has been the target of a “smear campaign” for decades.
In his defense, they point to him successfully getting the death penalty against a Klansman who murdered a Black teenager.
The conservative Weekly Standard said Sessions was also instrumental in Alabama’s school desegregation effort. However, The Atlantic said it found no evidence of Sessions filing new desegregation lawsuits.