Dean Nelson is Senior Fellow for African American Affairs at Family Research Council. This article appeared in USA Today on January 16, 2017.
The confirmation of a president’s nominee for a Cabinet post should be based on that individual’s character and qualification for the office. Sen. Jeff Sessions has devoted decades to defending the rights of all Alabamans, and should be confirmed as U.S. attorney general.
Unfortunately, we are living in a toxic climate where the serious charge of racism is carelessly leveled against anyone with whom the left disagrees. Those who raise this charge against the senator are either unaware of his record or willfully ignoring it.
Sessions has consistently demonstrated respect for people of all races:
He supported cases attacking segregation in Alabama public schools. He has employed many African-American staffers, including his chief legal counsel of seven years. He worked on the prosecution of a member of the Ku Klux Klan, vigilantly seeking to uphold the death penalty for the defendant’s murder of a young black man. Sessions spearheaded the effort to award Rosa Parks the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Anyone concerned about Sessions’ vocal support of voter identification laws and their potential use to suppress minority voters should take heart from the implementation of Georgia’s voter ID law, which coincided with a sharp increase in black and Latino voter turnout.
I personally disagree with Sessions on a few issues, including aspects of criminal justice reform. But my personal disagreement — or anyone’s — with him on particular issues does not mean he is not qualified to be attorney general.
The American people have made clear that they are deeply frustrated with the petty partisan bickering that has so long characterized Washington. They want our government to function according to our Constitution, which means the president-elect should be allowed to appoint qualified individuals of his choice. Sen. Sessions has always understood this, which is why he voted to confirm Eric Holder as President Obama’s attorney general.
I am confident he will stand up to his boss at least as much as Holder did.