Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Lead GOP Sotomayor opponent Jeff Sessions rejected in 1986 for federal judgeship, due to racial bias

On July 14, 2009, Sarah Wildman, appearing on Amy Goodman's "DemocracyNow!" television news program, reminded viewers that Jeff Sessions, the Alabama (Republican) senator that is leading the opposition against Judge Sonia Sotomayor, was rejected by the U.S. Senate in 1986 for a federal judiciary position. Then President Ronald Reagan nominated Sessions for a federal judgeship. The Senate Judiciary Committee rejected Sessions by a nine to nine vote, because of noteworthy instances of racial insensitivity that many of us would call racism.

During the preliminary inquiry on Sessions' nomination, the Committee found that Sessions demonstrated "gross insensitivity" on racial issues. He had said that he did not think that the Ku Klux Klan was not so bad until he realized that some of the members smoked marijuana. As summarized in wikipedia, Sessions "allegedly referred to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) as "un-American" and "Communist-inspired" because they 'forced civil rights down the throats of people.'"
Click on this address to link to the "DemocracyNow!" interview that more fully exposes Sessions' past. The segment includes 1986 CBS archival footage on the case, and a then-Senator Joe Biden's (today, vice-president) citing Sessions' racial insensitivity. Paradoxically, with Senator Arlen Spector's defection to the Democrats, Sessions became the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee; thus Sessions is in line to lead the Committee, should the Republicans retake the Senate.

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