A group of law school professors added their voices to the growing opposition to President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for US attorney general.
Contrary to the unfair and untrue criticisms of his opponents, Sessions had an outstanding record, one that any lawyer or public official would be proud of. But the early Trump presidential campaign backer is expected to have support from Republicans controlling the Senate and its Judiciary Committee.
Was Jeff Sessions only peripherally involved in the 32-year-old case that still haunts him?
The focus of their concerns is Sessions's 1986 nomination for a federal judgeship; his rejection by the Senate due in part to his prosecution of black voting rights activists on voter fraud charges when he was a US attorney in Alabama; and his alleged racially insensitive remarks during his tenure there.
There is still no federal law explicitly protecting LGBT people from discrimination, but the U.S. Department of Justice has recognized that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits gender discrimination in employment, includes transgender people who face discrimination on the basis of their gender identity. As the US attorney for the Southern District of Alabama in the 1980s, he led a failed prosecution of three civil rights activists who conducted a voter registration drive.
"Jeff Sessions has a record on civil and voting rights that disqualified him from becoming a federal judge in 1986", commented Dye.
In a recent USA Today editorial, NRA executive director Chris W. Cox outlines Sessions's history of supporting Second Amendment rights and applauds his desire to focus on the "need to enforce existing laws, rather than pushing for new regulations that only affect the law-abiding". Brooks took part in a protest opposing Sessions' nomination as attorney general.
His record on civil rights has stirred particular concern from advocacy groups.
"[Sessions] supported the weakening [of] a key provision of the Voting Rights Act", Cornell Williams Brooks said. "They called them voter fraud cases", said Sanders, who gained acquittals for defendants.
"To use prosecutorial discretion to attempt to criminalize voter assistance is wrong and should be disqualifying for any aspirant to the nation's highest law enforcement post", he wrote.
It was a volatile, tension-filled trial and a year later, wounds from Session's prosecution of the trio had not yet healed as he went before the Judiciary Committee as a U.S. District Court nominee for the Southern District of Alabama. He also worked with Democratic colleagues on efforts to combat prison rape and to reduce federal sentencing disparities between crack cocaine and powder cocaine offenses, saying the gap unfairly targeted the "African-American community simply because that is where crack is most often used".
"Jeff Sessions has dedicated his career to upholding the rule of law, ensuring public safety and prosecuting government corruption", spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said in a statement.
Cox's editorial comes shortly after a thousand law professors sent a letter to congress in which they urge senators to reject Sessions's nomination for attorney general.
The future lawmaker also reportedly said the Ku Klux Klan was "OK, until [I] learned they smoked marijuana" before his confirmation hearing.