Civil rights and law enforcement groups are strongly supporting President-elect Donald J. Trump's nomination of U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General.
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Former Deputy Attorney General of the United States under President George W. Bush Larry Thompson: "I can tell you as a friend and someone who has known Jeff Sessions for 32 years that Jeff does not have a racist bone in his body. When I first met Jeff, he was U.S. Attorney in Mobile and I was the U.S. Attorney in Atlanta. In order to stretch our limited per diems on travel to Department of Justice conferences, we often booked single rooms with double beds in hotels. You really get to know a person when you interact so closely with them.
"When I was asked by Attorney General William French Smith to head the Southeastern Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force simply because of my strategic location in Atlanta, a delicate situation was presented. The Task Force consisted of eleven other U.S. Attorney Offices but any potential problem was avoided because Jeff rallied the other U.S. Attorneys around our common cause and my leadership.
"As a former federal prosecutor, Jeff knows the workings of the Justice Department inside and out. He is thoroughly familiar with the legal issues the Department will face. He understands the mission of the Department and will carry out his duties in a professional, thoughtful, and balanced manner. More recently, Jeff voted to confirm President Obama’s choice as Attorney General, Eric Holder.
"By the way, I have been an African American for 71 years and I think I know a racist when I experience one. Jeff Sessions is simply a good and decent man."
Former Attorney General John Ashcroft: "The political 'drive-by-assassins' who have trotted out the 30-year-old fabrication of racism are utterly devoid of the truth. When attackers resort to 30-year-old falsehoods it is clear evidence of their lack of substantive objection.
"Jeff is devoted to the proposition that equity before the law and in our society is at the heart and soul of what it means to be American. Nothing so completely rivals the injustice of racism more profoundly than the reckless labelling of persons who are not.
"Jeff Sessions has earned the trust of America with over three decades of fair and equitable service to the entirety of our culture. He deserves our commendation and support, not conjured, baseless attacks."
U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner Peter Kirsanow: “Senator Sessions is a good man and a great man. He has done more to protect the jobs and enhance the wages of black workers than anyone in either house of Congress over the last 10 years. Of all the Senators and public officials that I’ve dealt with, I cannot think of anyone who has been more devoted to issues related to wages and employment levels of all Americans, but particularly black American workers.
"[Senator Sessions] is a man of tremendous integrity. I think it was an inspired pick. He’s going to be a marvelous Attorney General.
"It’s scandalous that they’re trying to say he’s a racist. They are trying to demonize the Alabama of 2016 as somehow being the Alabama of 1946. And they are trying to similarly falsely caricature Sen. Sessions. But that is not the case. I’ve gotten the opportunity to deal with him on a regular basis and he is a wonderful human being.”
Civil Rights Attorney and founder of the Black American Leadership Alliance Leah Durant: “Senator Sessions has been a leader in the fight for preserving American jobs and ensuring opportunities for African American workers.”
Robert N. Driscoll, managing partner, McGlinchey Stafford, Washington, D.C., and former deputy assistant attorney general in the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division: “Senator Sessions could be a good attorney general for civil rights because he will be driven by the law. His interpretation of the law will not please everyone, but I predict it will be fairly applied without fear or favor. Clear cases will be prosecuted with vigor. Creative interpretations of the law may cease, but the meat-and-potatoes work of the division (intentional discrimination, police misconduct, disability law) will continue apace, conducted without impropriety or political favoritism. That alone will be a breath of fresh air.”
National Sheriffs’ Association: “Senator Sessions would be an outstanding nominee for U.S. Attorney General. Sen. Sessions has enormous integrity, fidelity to the rule of law, substantial experience and a commitment to fairness and equal justice under the law. Those are qualities America needs as its chief law enforcement officer to the Federal Government.
"Throughout his career, Senator Sessions has steadfastly supported the men and women who risk their lives every day to preserve the rule of law. Senator Sessions is an experienced prosecutor with a world-class legal mind, serving as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, Alabama Attorney General and for two decades on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, which oversees the Department of Justice.
"Senator Sessions would be an extraordinary Attorney General and we’re hopeful the new administration nominates him and the U.S. Senate quickly confirms.”
National District Attorneys Association (NDAA): "Today, the National District Attorneys Association, representing 2,500 diverse Republican and Democratic elected prosecutors and their 40,000 assistants, formally endorsed Senator Jeff Sessions from the State of Alabama to be the 84th Attorney General of the United States. Rarely in the history of this great country has a candidate been more qualified to serve in this capacity in an effort to promote and protect public safety.
"The breadth of Senator Sessions experience is vast. Born in Selma, Alabama to hard working parents who operated a general store, the Senator was educated at Huntington College in Montgomery and received his law degree from the University of Alabama in 1973.
"Manifesting an early interest in public service, Sessions became a U.S. Army Reservist, eventually reaching the rank of Captain. He was appointed U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama in 1981, a post he held with distinction for 12 years. He was elected Alabama Attorney General in 1994 and served until his election to the United States Senate in 1996, where he has served his state and country until today. His background in both state and federal prosecution makes him uniquely qualified to be our nation’s top law enforcement official.
"While in the Senate, Senator Sessions has fought tirelessly in support of prosecutors and crime victims through his efforts to maintain the ability of law enforcement and prosecutors to seize the illgotten gains of criminal enterprises and, perhaps most impressively, his efforts to champion the cause of our most vulnerable victims, namely children devastated by the evils of physical and sexual abuse."
On his nomination, NDAA Alabama State Director Steve Marshall said, “Jeff Sessions has been a passionate advocate for criminal justice issues shown through his full support of law enforcement and prosecutors across the country. He will serve us well as this country’s next Attorney General."
Major County Sheriffs’ Association (MCSA): “Your service and knowledgeable experience within the field of criminal justice makes you a uniquely qualified candidate and will undoubtedly serve you well.
"Expected to lead the U.S. Department of Justice on issues from tackling complex organized crime and cyber-threats, to sophisticated fraud and terrorism, the Attorney General of the United States requires not only a strong command of all justice concerns, but the ability to work cooperatively and closely with a broad community of law enforcement agencies and leaders across the country. Within the current Administration, there has been a continued pattern of making critical decisions affecting the law enforcement community without adequate stakeholder consultation. Issues range from the acquisition of military surplus equipment to immigration enforcement and asset forfeiture.
"You have continued to be a strong advocate for law enforcement and we sincerely thank you for your hard work and commitment to public safety. As an association of elected sheriffs representing our nation’s largest counties with populations of 500,000 people or more, serving over 100 million Americans, we seek to be a positive source of ideas and solutions and you have been a reliable and valuable partner of the MCSA."
National Association of Police Organizations, Inc. (NAPO): “You have been a voice for law enforcement on many issues facing our community as a Senator and member of the Judiciary Community and we look forward to continue working with you on these issues as the head of the Department of Justice. We are proud to offer you our whole-hearted support.
"NAPO is a coalition of police units and associations from across the United States that serves to advance the interests of America’s law enforcement officers. Founded in 1978, NAPO now represents more than 1,000 police units and associations, 241,000 sworn law enforcement officers, and more than 100,000 citizens who share a common dedication to fair and effective crime control and law enforcement.
"NAPO has enjoyed working with you and having your support on many of our priority legislation, including the Thin Blue Line Act and the Lifesaving Gear for Police Act. As this nation is experiencing an increase in the number of assaults on law enforcement officers, these two bills are essential to protecting the lives of officers. We hope to see President Obama’s Executive Order 13688 restricting law enforcement’s access to surplus military equipment overturned by President Trump.
"You have shown a strong understanding of law enforcement’s needs, as further exemplified by your amendment to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act Amendments Act to include emergency exceptions to the warrant requirement. This understating is again illustrated by your opposition to the expansive Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act and your endorsement of the Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect Americans Act. We thank you for your continued support for America’s law enforcement officers.
"NAPO looks forward to continue working with you on these and other key issues affecting the law enforcement community in your new position."
National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys (NAAUSA): The National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys expresses its strong support for the selection of Senator Jeff Sessions to become the next Attorney General of the United States. Senator Sessions, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney, Alabama Attorney General, four-term U.S. Senator, and longtime member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is a man of unquestionable integrity and unparalleled experience. Throughout his distinguished career he has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the rule of law, fairness, and equal justice for all."
NAAUSA President Steve Cook said “Senator Sessions is uniquely equipped to be the chief law enforcement officer of our Nation and to lead the Department of Justice. We congratulate President-elect Trump for his selection of Senator Sessions to this important post and we look forward to his formal nomination and prompt confirmation by the Senate.”
Republican Attorneys General Association: "On behalf of the twenty-nine Republican Attorneys General across the country, we congratulate Jeff Sessions on his nomination to be our nation's Attorney General."
“Senator Sessions is a world-class legal mind and experienced prosecutor, having served his country admirably as both U.S. Attorney and Alabama Attorney General," said Luther Strange, Chairman of the Republican Attorneys General Association.
"Senator Sessions is respected across party lines in the U.S. Senate and has a strong civil rights record in his decades of public service. Senator Sessions is a credit to our nation and I know he will make us proud in his new role where he will continue to be a champion for our Constitution and the rule of law.”