Attorney General Jeff Sessions is a popular topic on this website. As the head of the U.S. Department of Justice, he’s frequently spoken out about his desire to crackdown on marijuana usage even in states where it’s legal. So while his anti-cannabis crusade gets a lot of attention, there are many more reasons to join the Jeff Sessions fan club.
Here are 10 facts you possibly don’t know about the Attorney General.
10. The Senate refused to make him a judge because of racial issues
In 1986, Sessions was nominated by President Reagan to fill a federal district judge position in Alabama. A former colleague accused Sessions of making racially insensitive comments while working as a United States Attorney, including calling the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People “un-American” and told a black co-work to be careful what he said “to white folks.”
9. Sessions was accused of prosecutorial misconduct while acting as Alabama Attorney General
In 1997, an Alabama judge accused Sessions of the worst prosecutrial misconduct he’d ever seen. He wrote, “The court finds that even having been given every benefit of the doubt, the misconduct of the Attorney General in this case far surpasses in both extensiveness and measure the totality of any prosecutorial misconduct ever previously presented to or witnessed by this court.”
The case in question surrounded an Alabama turf and industrial equipment company called Tieco accused of cheating customers and suppliers through bogus billings and kickbacks. Apparently, the complaint against the company came to the Attorney General through a competitor of Tieco. The Attorney General’s office did not look into the possibility of the competitor using the complaint as a way to gain a business edge. It was later determined that wording used in a search warrant affidavit was very similar to a civil court complaint filed against Tieco. Tieco accused Sessions and the Attorney General’s office of using its power to help a civil case, and the judge determined that they had violated the accused constitutional rights and threw out the case.
8. He once said people from the Dominican Republican bring no useful skills to the United States
In 2006, the Senate tried a massive overhaul to immigration reform. During debate on the issue, Sessions decided to take the opportunity to say the people from the Dominican Republic brought almost no skills to the United States.
He said, “Fundamentally, almost no one coming from the Dominican Republic to the United States is coming here because they have provable skill that would benefit us and that would indicate their likely success in our society. They come in because some other family member of a qualified relation is here as a citizen or even a green card holder. That is how they get to come. They are creating a false document to show these are relatives or their spouses and they are married when it is not so.”
7. He once charged three civil rights works for voter fraud for registering people to vote
In 1984, Sessions was involved in a case known as the “Marion 3.” He charged three civil rights workers of voter fraud for their efforts in helping register people to vote and helping mostly black voters fill in their ballots. The judge threw out half of the charges for lack of evidence before the case even went in front of a jury. All three defendants were acquitted on all charges.
6. He’s not a fan of the Voting Rights Act
The 1965 Voting Rights Act helped establish a set of rules to ensure citizens with the right to vote were not prevented from doing so. This was mostly a problem in the South where obstacles such as poll taxes and literacy tests were created to prevent black people from voting. This seemingly noble piece of legislation has been criticized by Sessions even to thsi day. In his failed 1986 nomination for a judge position, he referred to the Voting Rights Act as “a piece of intrusive legislation.” And while he did vote to re-authorize that act in 2006, he also praised the Supreme Court for gutting key parts of the bill in 2013.
5. He’s known as “Amnesty’s Worst Enemy”
Sessions’ opposition to immigration reform is well known. As one of the highest-ranking Republicans, he spearheaded an effort to shoot down possible reform in 2014. Ironically, he bashed the bill for being written in private by a handful of Senators, which is more or less how Republicans tried to get their healthcare bill passed a few weeks ago. Sessions’ efforts to stop the bill led to the conservative National Review dubbing him “Amnesty’s Worst Enemy.”
4. He approves of mistreatment of prisoners
Sessions is known as a military hawk and approves of America getting tough in foreign policy. To that end, he once voted against an amendment that would ban “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” of prisoners by the military. Not exactly the guy you want in charge of protecting Americans’ civil rights.
3. Sessions was the first Senator to endorse Trump
While many mainstream and elected Republicans avoided endorsing Trump until he wrapped up the nomination, Sessions jumped on the “Make America Great Again” bandwagon early. In February 2016, Sessions spoke at a rally in Alabama in support of the future president, making him the first sitting senator to endorse Trump.
Unfortunately, Trump doesn’t seem to care that much about the endorsement. He told the Wall Street Journal last month, “It’s not like a great loyal thing about the endorsement. I’m very disappointed in Jeff Sessions.”
2. Martin Luther King Jr.’s wife wrote against his judicial nomination
Another key part about Sessions’ failed 1986 judicial nomination was a letter written by Coretta Scott King, the wife of Martin Luther King Jr., urging the Senate not to confirm him. She said nominating Sessions would “irreparably damage the work of my husband.” While the letter worked in 1986 to prevent Sessions’ nomination, similar efforts using the letter at the beginning of 2017 to prevent his Attorney General nomination were not as successful.
1. He allegedly approved of the Ku Klux Klan…until he found out they smoked marijuana
The same colleague who testified about Sessions’ racially insensitive comments also testified about an incident in which Sessions said he considered the Klan to be an acceptable organization, until he found out they smoked marijuana. Another colleague confirmed that Sessions did in fact make that statement, but claimed it was a joke.
The sad thing is he actually probably thinks smoking marijuana is worse than anything the KKK has ever done.