Civil Rights Leaders and Voting Rights Experts Respond to Confirmation Hearing of Attorney General Nominee Jeff Sessions

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WASHINGTON — Today, civil rights leaders and voting rights experts provided reaction to the confirmation hearing of Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions and discussed his voting rights history, including Gerry Hebert, who testified against Sen. Sessions this week during the hearings. Read Hebert's recent op-ed in the Washington Post, "Jeff Sessions says he handled these civil rights cases. He barely touched them" here.

Senator Sessions’ history on voting rights is, simply put, a record of hostility. He has referred to the Voting Rights Act as intrusive and is a supporter of the Supreme Court decision to gut the Act in Shelby County v. Holder. A longtime, vocal advocate for voter ID laws, Sen. Sessions admitted he had no formulated plan to defend constituents against disenfranchisement as Attorney General.

A recording of today’s event is available here.

Wade Henderson, President of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said “This week’s confirmation hearing for Senator Sessions highlighted what’s at stake with this critical nomination and underscored why Senator Sessions is unfit to serve as our nation’s Attorney General. Judging by his record and testimony, we believe that Senator Sessions would fail to properly enforce many of our nation’s important civil rights laws and precedents, while overzealously pursuing false allegations of voter fraud and supporting policies that would make it more difficult for citizens to register to vote. Absolutely nothing that we heard or witnessed from the Senator should dispel concerns about his fitness to serve as Attorney General or reassure those worried about whether Senator Sessions would be a fair arbiter of justice for all Americans.”  

Gerry Hebert, Director of Voting Rights and Redistricting Program for the Campaign Legal Center, said, “Jeff Sessions continues to misrepresent his record to his fellow Senators. Even his responses to the supplemental questionnaire, as well as his sworn testimony about cases he continues to claim he worked on, were false.  Senators owe it to the American people to take the time to know the facts and demand the truth from Senator Sessions. It is frightening to think that Sessions will run the U.S. Department of Justice and have the opportunity to roll back voting rights through voter suppression laws in communities that have long struggled for equality and justice.”

Alabama State Senator Hank Sanders, said “Senator Session has not done justice as a U. S. Attorney, an Alabama Attorney General or U. S. Senator.  Senator Jeff Sessions cannot do justice as head of the Justice Department."

*A recording of today’s call is available here

This follows a similar response call held earlier this week with civil rights leaders, recording available here.