Sweet home Alabama?

Jefferson Sessions is the newest member of President Trump’s elitist, nightmare cabinet. Having been a junior senator in Alabama for over 20 years, he is the new Attorney General – a position which is regarded as one of the four most important spots in the US cabinet, along with Secretary of State, Treasury and Defence. Why is this the newest in a long line of recent tragedies for American politics? It’s not simply because it’s one more old, rich, white man in power, it’s more that Sessions was blocked from becoming a federal judge by the judiciary board in the 1980s due to his “racist behaviour”. Furthermore, he is a climate change denier and he failed to disclose his holdings in oil before his Attorney General confirmation – a legal ethics requirement. To put it simply, he’s your perfect ultra-conservative horror story.

Being the senator of the state of Alabama for 20 years should maybe have raised some red flags in itself, with the state branded by several studies as one of the most racist in America – housing five chapters of the KKK, five white supremacist groups and its own Neo-Nazi party. After an investigation into Sessions during his nomination for federal judge in 1986, he was unanimously rejected by the senate judiciary board having been considered ultimately too racist. So it’s no surprise Sessions is loved by Alabama, never winning a re-election with less than 59% of the vote. Allegations of racism were based on former colleagues testifying about his use of the ‘n word’, derogatory comments about the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People) and ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), stating that they were “un-American” and “communist inspired”. The final nail in the coffin was joking that the KKK were “okay until he learned they smoked pot”. These are terrifying words to hear from the new Attorney General, “The People’s Lawyer”, meant to represent everyone. Of course, over 25 years have passed since his federal judge nomination, so who’s to say he hasn’t changed? Or has his bank of immorality and ignorance simply had time to grow?

Session’s opinions on topics such as climate change highlight his density towards scientific fact, instead choosing to present the ‘alternative fact’ that excessive CO2 “isn’t really a pollutant” and it “doesn’t harm anybody”. We’ll be sure to remind you of this fact when Alabama is underwater, Jeff. Yet still, it gets worse. Upon nomination to a cabinet position, you have a legal ethics requirement to disclose any holdings in companies or industries that could cause a conflict of interest. Sessions failed to disclose his holdings in oil – it turns out he owns oil rights across 600 acres of land, some lying below a federal wildlife refuge. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, found this “particularly troubling”, and wouldn’t one say grounds for impeachment?

The cabinet for the Trump administration has fallen nothing short of a tragedy, from the disastrous choices of private-educated billionaire Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary and the CEO of ExxonMobil, Rex Tillerson (friend of Putin), as Secretary of State, to the fact that the cabinet’s combined net worth is greater than the least wealthy one-third of American households. With Jeff Sessions as “The People’s Lawyer”, average citizens are all in danger of not being fully represented by their government. Having a racist liar at the top of the legal system doesn’t seem forward thinking to me. So much for US values and the land of the free, America.

Megan Shefford

(Image courtesy of CNN.com)

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