Please Vote Against Sen. Sessions' Confirmation
January 27, 2017
Dear Members of the United States Senate:
Over the last decade, the Justice Department has worked to protect the civil rights of all people. As Mayor of one of the most diverse cities in the U.S., I am asking you to vote against the confirmation of Senator Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General.
Voting in favor of Sen. Sessions’ confirmation would deal a devastating blow to American civil rights. For decades, Sen. Sessions has sought to undermine any and all advancements toward equality in this country. During his time as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, Sessions selectively prosecuted black voters for alleged voter fraud. In 1986, numerous civil rights groups, including the NAACP, voiced their opposition to Sessions’ confirmation to be a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama. Coretta Scott King, the widow of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., also wrote a scathing letter, arguing that Sessions would challenge the efforts of civil rights leaders to bring equality to the democratic process.
I could not agree more and Sen. Sessions’ record on gay rights further illustrates this point. While in Alabama, Sessions attempted to prevent the Southeastern Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual College Conference from meeting at the University of Alabama. He defended the state’s right to deny funding to LGBTQ groups at public universities, saying the government should not fund organizations that promote actions prohibited by sodomy and sexual misconduct laws.
As a Senator, Sessions has actively supported legislation that oppresses women. He has long been a voice against women’s right to choose, voting specifically to defund organizations that provide women’s health, to restrict minors from having certain procedures, and to reject federal funding for family planning services and educational programs. He also opposed the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in 2013, a bill that aims to expand protections against domestic violence.
And when it comes to immigration, Sen. Sessions does not simply support “law and order.” Rather, draconian immigration policies are central to his political vision. What he has called “immigration moderation” is really a transformation of the naturalization process. Sen. Sessions has gone so far as to suggest that offering undocumented immigrants a route to citizenship goes against the rule of law.
Even more frightening than Sen. Sessions’ past is his potential to undercut democracy moving forward. We would see devastating setbacks to marriage equality, healthcare laws, and women’s rights, among other things — the negative effects of which would endure for years after the Trump administration.
Sen. Sessions’ record as a public official further demonstrates he is unfit for the position of U.S. Attorney General. As head of the Department of Justice, we need an advocate for civil rights. And we need someone who will fight for equality — not actively undermine it.
For these reasons, I ask that you please vote against Sen. Sessions’ confirmation and support instead those who have struggled to make this country what it is today — an inclusive community that values minorities, women, LGBTQ, and immigrants.
Dr. Robert Garcia