Former Mass. governor’s impassioned plea reveals how Trump’s attorney general pick targeted civil rights leaders
Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick wrote a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Jan. 3 in regards to President-elect Donald Trump’s Attorney General pick, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, Mother Jones reports.
In his letter, Patrick calls on leaders to reject Sessions’ nomination to head the U.S. Department of Justice. Patrick detailed his work on the defense team of three black civil rights leaders in 1985 in Perry County, Alabama who Sessions wrongly accused of “tampering with absentee ballots.”
“Mr. Sessions investigated only the use [of absentee] ballots by black voters and only where white incumbents were losing political ground,” he argued, writing also that white voters often used absentee ballots “and to great effect” within Sessions’ jurisdiction.
One year later, in 1986 Sessions was nominated and rejected for a federal judgeship. In mid-November of 2016 when he was first announced as Trump’s pick, a 500-page transcript of Sessions’ 1986 hearing was released and included allegations that Sessions had previously made racist comments. His rejection was based on the ruling in the Perry County case, from which the allegations of racism stemmed.
Patrick wrote, “Thirty years ago, because it was widely understood and appreciated that his appointment to the bench would raise a question about this Committee’s commitment to a just, fair and open justice system, Mr. Sessions’ nomination was withdrawn on a bi-partisan basis. I respectfully suggest to you that this moment requires similar consideration and a similar outcome.”
He explained how every president “should have the team of their choosing.” However, he continued, “Our Nation needs healing,” adding, “At a time when our nation is so divided, when so many people feel so deeply that their lived experience is unjust, Mr. Sessions is the wrong person to place in charge of our justice system.”
Sessions made headline in recent days after members of the NAACP across Alabama protested at his various offices on Tuesday, including a sit-in in Mobile. His hearing is scheduled for Jan. 10.
You can read the full letter here.