JACL Joins Coalition Opposing Confirmation of Sessions

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WASHINGTON — The Japanese American Citizens League joined with over 200 national organizations in an open letter to the U.S. Senate opposing the confirmation of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) for attorney general.

Sen. Jeff Sessions

The letter from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley of Iowa, and Ranking Member Patrick Leahy of Vermont, stated that Sessions “has a 30-year record of racial insensitivity, bias against immigrants, disregard for the rule of law, and hostility to the protection of civil rights that makes him unfit to serve as the Attorney General of the United States.”

“The position of attorney general is charged with enforcing our nation’s laws without prejudice and with an eye toward justice. It is a position of trust where all Americans must feel the person in this position will fairly administer justice,” JACL said in a statement. “Sen. Sessions’ actions as a United States senator raise questions as to whether he will fairly administer justice.

“On voting rights, he has voiced support for restrictive voter ID laws that have had the effect of restricting access to the polls.

“On hate crimes, he opposed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which is especially troubling in the current climate where hate crimes are on the rise.

“On LGBT rights, Sessions supported a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

“On women’s rights, he opposed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 enabling women to file ongoing pay discrimination claims.”

The letter reads, in part: “In 1986, when then-U.S. Attorney Sessions was nominated by former President Ronald Reagan to serve as a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, the Republican-controlled Senate upheld its constitutional duty, undertaking a careful and comprehensive review of his record at that time.

“The Judiciary Committee was presented with compelling evidence that then-U.S. Attorney Sessions had a deeply troubling record as an opponent of civil rights enforcement, a champion of voter suppression tactics targeting African Americans, and a history of making racially insensitive statements.

“The record included warning an African American colleague to be careful about what he said ‘to white folks,’ and speaking favorably about the Ku Klux Klan, as well as his prosecution of three African American voting rights activists on dozens of charges that were promptly rejected by a jury.”

The civil rights organizations include:

Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum

Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund

Asian American Psychological Association

Asian Americans Advancing Justice

Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote

Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence

Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations

Center for APA Women

Laotian American National Alliance

National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association

National Asian Pacific American Families Against Substance Abuse

National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum

National CAPACD

National Council of Asian Pacific Americans

National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians

National Federation of Filipino American Associations

National Korean American Service and Education Consortium

National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance

OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates

Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund

Southeast Asia Resource Action Center

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