President-elect Donald J. Trump over the weekend nominated Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) to serve as United States Attorney General, signaling that he is serious about returning the Justice Department to its core of mission of “ensuring fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.”
Sen. Sessions’ credentials are impeccable.
Assistant United States Attorney. United States Attorney. Alabama Attorney General. United States Senator. A combined 35 years of public service and a lifelong commitment to the rule of law.
And yet if you read the New York Times and Washington Post, or watch MSNBC and CNN, you would think President-elect Trump brought segregation-era George Wallace back from the dead and appointed him to be the nation’s chief law enforcement officer. (In reality, Sessions campaigned against Wallace as a college Republican, but that’s a story for another time.)
The media constantly point back to Sen. Sessions’ failed confirmation after then-President Ronald Reagan nominated him to a federal judgeship as evidence that he is, as CNN puts it, “dogged by allegations of racism.” During Senate confirmation hearings in 1986, Sessions was accused of making racially insensitive comments.
When a former Justice Department colleague came forward with the accusation, Sessions did the unthinkable in Washington: he told the truth. He conceded that he had made a joke that was being taken out of context.
And his actions clearly backed that up, because at the moment Sessions made the unfortunate joke, he was tenaciously leading a fight to deliver justice for the family of an African American man who had been viciously murdered by the KKK.
And this is the part of the story the media never tell.
Michael Donald, a 19-year-old African-American man, was walking home when he was kidnapped by two Klan members, who drove him to a secluded area, nearly beat him to death with a tree limb, tied a noose around his neck, strangle him, then slit his throat and hung him from a tree.
KKK member Henry Francis Hays was responsible for the vicious murder, and did so at the order of his father, Klan leader Bennie Hays, who ordered the killing “to show Klan strength in Alabama.”
Sessions was so disgusted by what had happened that he allowed the State of Alabama to try the case, rather than making it a federal case, because Alabama had the death penalty.
Years later, when Sessions was Alabama Attorney General, the story came full circle as he oversaw the execution of Mr. Hays.
Barry Kowalski, the now-legendary civil rights attorney and former Special Counsel in the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, recalls Sessions’ involvement with the case.
“Senator Sessions could not have been more supportive of our investigations, and in the Michael Donald case specifically, he personally contributed to making sure his killers were brought to justice.”
In short, Jeff Sessions made Henry Hays the first white person to be executed in Alabama for the murder of a black citizen since 1913. Additionally, Mr. Hays is the only known member of the KKK to be executed in the United States in the 20th century for murdering an African American.
The successful prosecution of Hays also led to a $7 million civil judgment against the Klan,” which the Associated Press in 1997 noted bankrupted the KKK in Alabama.
And yet these days the AP is busy cranking out stories about Sessions’ “racial issues” and claiming that he’s facing “a tough senate confirmation,” even though he has already garnered bi-partisan support and Republicans clearly have the votes to confirm him.
If you want to know the truth, listen to what the people who actually know Jeff Sessions have to say.
Larry Thompson, who worked closely with Sessions at the Justice Department and went on to serve as Deputy Attorney General of the United States, said this week that Sessions “does not have a racist bone in his body.”
“I have been an African American for 71 years and I think I know a racist when I experience one,” he added. “Jeff Sessions is simply a good and decent man.”
William Smith, who Sessions tapped to be the first African American to ever serve as Chief Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, called Sessions “a man of high character and great integrity” who always “treated me like family.”
U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner Peter Kirsanow said Sessions “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.”
Civil rights attorney and founder of the Black American Leadership Alliance Leah Durant said Sessions “has been a leader in the fight for preserving American jobs and ensuring opportunities for African American workers.”
And Kenyen Brown, the Obama appointee who now fills the very same US Attorney seat that Sessions once sat in, called Sessions “a man of outstanding character with an impeccable reputation for integrity.”
Jeff Sessions is a brilliant legal mind with a titanium spine, but most importantly, he is a good man. And that, in short, is why liberals and their allies in the media are resorting to 30-year-old, trumped-up lies to try to take him down — because that’s all they have.