OK, Washington Post is out with the missing letter from Corretta Scott King opposing Sessions’ 1986 nomination for federal judge. You can check it out here.
Sen. Coons now asking if Sessions will continue to enforce the Obama administration’s consent decrees. Sessions says “it really is important that the people trust the police department,” and he suggests that Justice Department cooperation with PDs could boost the confidence of the public. It was kind a non-answer answer. Hirano tried to nail down Sessions earlier on consent decrees and he would not fully commit to leaving them in place unchanged and following them faithfully to the letter.
Coons quotes Sessions saying he should have been more active in civil rights causes and asks what more he could have done. Sessions says African Americans were “being discriminated against systematically” and objects to Coons noting that Sessions called the Voting Rights Act “intrusive.” Honestly, I didn’t catch this whole exchange but Sessions was agitated by the inquiry into his civil rights history and his views of the Voting Rights Act. Grassley cut Coons off and moved on to a new senator.
Blumenthal asks Sessions if he believes that denying 250,000 people the right to vote through Alabama’s voter ID law was wrong. Sessions denies that 250,000 were denied right to vote. Blumenthal asks if the voter ID law targeted black voters. Sessions denies that was the intent of the law, adds that it was a state matter and admits that he didn’t intervene to correct the matter.
Blumenthal asks for a commitment that DACA recipients will not be deported. Sessions says “certainly” DACA kids shouldn’t be prioritized for deportation but he declines to “opine” on it and says that it will be a question for Homeland Security. Blumenthal follows that orders to deport will be enforced by the Justice Department and asks if Sessions would be troubled by using information provided by DACA kids “in good faith” to target and deport them. Sessions: “You make a good point,” adds it’s the responsibility of DHS and he doesn’t feel comfortable making a commitment one way or the other. So, no, he’s not sure using that info would violate his conscience (he didn’t say that, I did).
On the Lily Ledbetter Act, Hirano asks why Sessions voted against it. Sessions: the testimony “as I understood it” was that Ledbetter did have notice of being paid less. Um sorry, that is just bogus even if it is correct, and I don’t think it is. So he voted against a law promoting equal pay for equal work because he didn’t agree with the example on which it was built?? He wasn’t voting on Ledbetter’s situation, he was voting on whether women should be paid equally for their work going forward. What a crap reason for voting against a law.
Franken quotes stat: Over 84% of American Indians experience sexual or physical violence. Most of those committed by people who aren’t American Indian. Franken mentions his earlier discussion with Sessions about his vote against VAWA and him expressing shock at how many native women experience violence. Franken gets Sessions to commit to spending some time with American Indians to understand the gravity of the violence they face. Sessions commits. (Psst, hey, Sessions, there’s women in the world and they matter and bad things often happen to them.)
Franken says Trump made scapegoating refugees a centerpiece of his campaign even though some of his aides tried to walk back Trump’s proposed Muslim ban. Except Sessions, who called it a “valid” discussion to be having. Franken says that a Minn. school asked him to come speak to a school with a lot of Muslim students and reassure the kids because they were so fearful of the Trump campaign’s pronouncements. Franken drawing distinction between Europe where they don’t assimilate immigrants and the U.S. where we do. Those kids are Americans, says Franken. That’s it, no question. Just a reminder to Sessions that many Muslims are in fact Americans—similar to his previous reminder to Sessions that women exist. So reassuring that a man who will likely serve as AG needs to be reminded that there’s more than white men in the world and, yes, many of them are citizens and entitled to constitutional protections. Newsflash.
Grassley askes Sessions what role he can play in repairing the relationship between law enforcement and the people. Sessions says the “overwhelming majority” of law officers are serving with integrity and says he’s troubled by the many statements in recent years questioning law officers. Bottom line: Sessions isn’t going to be launching a lot of probing investigations into police abuses. Ok, covering the GOP questions of Sessions is just a yawn. Truly.
Grassley asks Sessions why he opposed the 2013 immigration bill. Sessions says he opposed it because he didn’t believe it would end the lawlessness while fixing our immigration system. Sessions adds that we may need to pass an immigration bill now. Wow. Sessions suddenly showing interest today in finding solutions on immigration. That’s news.