In the long history of the US Senate, a sitting Senator has never crossed the dais to give public testimony against a sitting Senator seeking a Cabinet job, until now. New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker just announced that he will testify against Alabama Republican Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, who couldn’t even get confirmed for a federal district judge post due to his blatant racism, but Trump thinks would be a great choice for America’s top law enforcement officer.
Senator Booker went on MSNBC (video below) to explain his reasons in detail, and told CNN this about his his courageous choice to break tradition this week:
“I do not take lightly the decision to testify against a Senate colleague,” Sen. Booker said. “But the immense powers of the attorney general combined with the deeply troubling views of this nominee is a call to conscience.”
Sen. Booker called Sessions’ record “concerning in a number of ways,” citing his opposition to bipartisan criminal justice reform and immigration reform, criticism of the Voting Rights Act and his “failure to defend the civil rights of women, minorities, and LGBT Americans.”
Sen. Sessions did serve as Alabama’s Attorney General, which gives a pretty clear blueprint of what Americans could expect if the Senate totally ignores his complete lack of fitness for the job. In a very short time, Sessions nakedly demonstrated an insatiable thirst for politicizing justice and institutional racism:
At least twice during his mere two years in office, Sessions produced legally flawed opinions that were favorable to Alabama Gov. Fob James that also, conveniently, aligned with the interests of one of Alabama’s most politically powerful and deep-pocketed organizations. That organization also happened to have spent substantial sums on, and taken credit for, electing James and Sessions to office. Years later, Sessions’ legal reasoning in these opinions was overruled by broad majorities of the Alabama Supreme Court—including in one ruling written by a Republican justice.
As a state attorney general, he also cleared the way for a politically connected insurance company’s planned no-bid coverage of state road work; urged the Alabama Ethics Commission to approve corporate-funded junkets for state employees; fought successfully against seating the first black intermediate appellate court judges in Alabama’s history; and, no joke, provided formal support for a local sheriff’s use of actual chain gangs.
The above injustices are just a taste of the kind of political pandering to his bosses and racism America can expect if Trump’s Attorney General choice is confirmed by the Senate. That doesn’t even mention the gross injustice Sen. Sessions committed by prosecuting (and losing miserably because he and no case) one of Martin Luther King’s associates for voter fraud in 1985. It cost him a federal judgeship and national embarrassment, but he now says he’d do it all over again.
Watch the rest here (starts at 4:30 mark):
Grant Stern is the Executive Editor of Occupy Democrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, and a senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition