Editorials and Opinion
Medical marijuana back in limbo under Trump administration [Editorial] (Herald [Bradenton, FL] , 12/15/16)
"When Floridians overwhelming placed the medical marijuana Amendment 2 into the state’s Constitution in November, nobody predicted the fate of that law could become questionable. President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for U.S. attorney general is a staunch opponent of the legalization of marijuana, in any form. Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III has called cannabis reform a “tragic mistake” and is surely inclined to rescind the Obama administration’s policy on not enforcing a federal prosecution of marijuana .... Sessions has not explicitly stated he intends to crack down on states with permissive marijuana laws, including medical use of the substance. But his past opposition certainly indicates that"
Our View: Some Trump picks not fans of their agencies [Editorial] (Fayetteville Observer [NC] , 12/14/16)
"Perry favors investment in fossil fuels and natural gas, and, like Trump, has expressed deep skepticism about the reality of climate change.
Other proposed cabinet members whose careers seem at odds with the agencies Trump chose for them include Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, picked to head the Justice Department and whose regard for civil rights, or lack thereof, was sufficient to kill his 1986 nomination for federal judge; Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, another climate skeptic, who has been tapped to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, despite having sued the agency over its regulations;"
Donald Trump has a lot to learn from Loretta Lynch [Editorial] (Washington Post, 12/13/16)
By Editorial Board: Just as important is the enforcement of federal hate-crime laws, and here again there is cause for concern with the incoming administration. Mr. Trump’s choice to replace Ms. Lynch as attorney general, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), vigorously opposed expansion of federal hate-crime protections in 2009; if confirmed, he will have great sway in deciding the direction of the Justice Department. It is important that Senate confirmation hearings press Mr. Sessions on where ensuring just and fair treatment for all Americans ranks in his priorities.
Editorial: Economic elite dominate Trump cabinet nominations (Herald Bulletin [IN] , 12/11/16)
"And why would any sane president-elect nominate for U.S. attorney general a person who was denied a federal judgeship because of racism allegations? Again, no good reason, yet Trump has nominated Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama.
Perhaps the most disheartening Trump Cabinet nomination is that of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt for administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt is a staunch supporter of the fossil fuel industry and denier of climate change.
It's no exaggeration to say that placing someone like Pruitt in that position literally threatens the long-term health of the planet."
Our View: Trump's motley crew leaves much to be desired (Norwich Bulletin [CT] , 12/10/16)
By Bulletin Editorial Board: Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., for attorney general
Pros: A former government lawyer and 19-year member of the Senate, Sessions has long experience in government and the law, and the points at which the two intersect.
Cons: Sessions' record of racially suggestive comments scuttled his shot at a federal judgeship in the '80s, suggesting a challenging confirmation fight to come.
Gazette editorial: Pollution’s champion to head EPA (Charleston Gazette [WV] , 12/10/16)
"Incoming President Donald Trump chose some abominable appointees: racist Jeff Sessions as attorney general .... now Trump has veered back to the abominable in choosing Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt — a fierce enemy of pollution controls and the Environmental Protection Agency — to head the EPA."
Editorial: Immigration courts collapse under caseloads (Des Moines Register [IA], 12/10/16)
"[T]o truly “get tough” on immigration and enforce the law, we don’t need more walls, more fences or more border patrol agents — at least not at the moment. What we need are more Department of Justice personnel to process the half-million immigration cases already clogging the courts. The bottleneck is on the back end of the system, not on the front end.
Because the immigration courts — unlike the federal courts where civil and criminal cases are heard — are run by the DOJ, the new attorney general will play a critical role in how this problem is addressed.
Unfortunately, Trump has selected Sen. Jeff Sessions, an Alabama Republican, for the job. Sessions is a “sealed border” advocate focused on fences and walls. He also is a longtime proponent of enlisting local police in rounding up illegal immigrants — and as attorney general he’ll have the power to steer federal funds away from communities that refuse to cooperate.
As a senator, Sessions has argued that "sanctuary cities" that offer protection to illegal immigrants should be denied federal funding, and reportedly said they should even be prosecuted. If he is confirmed as attorney general, he’ll soon have the chance to do both.
There are 23 counties in Iowa designated as sanctuaries"
Editorial, 12/.8: DACA youth are an asset to country (Lincoln Journal Star [NE], 12/08/16)
By the Journal Star editorial board: DACA students are precisely the type of immigrant who should have preference under a rational immigration policy.... But some of the people who are advising Trump, and Sen. Jeff Sessions, who he has selected to be his attorney general, are adamant opponents of the DACA program that President Barack Obama put into effect by executive order four years ago. And Trump said repeatedly that one of the first things he will do when he takes office will be to rescind Obama’s executive orders.
That could put the DACA students at special risk, since they turned over information on their identities to federal officials in order to participate in the program.
Editorial: New administration should leave pot decisions alone (Daily Astorian [OR], 12/08/16)
"The election of Donald Trump to the presidency and his appointment of marijuana foe U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., to be attorney general turns up the heat under these issues.
This Monday, Politico.com reported “With little more than the stroke of his own pen, the new attorney general will be able to arrest growers, retailers and users, defying the will of more than half the nation’s voters. ... Aggressive enforcement could cause chaos in a $6.7 billion industry that is already attracting major investment from Wall Street hedge funds and expected to hit $21.8 billion by 2020.”... Many of us were dubious about the wisdom of legalizing another intoxicating substance in a society already plagued with addiction. But this decision has been made, has not had dire consequences and should be left alone."
Trump’s attorney general pick could have a huge impact on all of Colorado [Editorial] (Durango Herald [CO], 12/08/16)
"n November, eight more states voted to legalize medical or recreational marijuana. In all, 29 states have approved the medicinal use of marijuana and only six have done nothing to ease the prohibition of pot. Legal marijuana is a more than $1 billion industry in Colorado alone. All that could be undone by one simple fact: President-elect Donald Trump has nominated Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., to be his attorney general"
Congress must make sure new AG leaves legal marijuana alone [Editorial] (Chinook Observer [WA], 12/06/16)
"Chinook Observer wondered two years ago what the 2016 presidential election would mean for state legalization of marijuana:... The election of Donald Trump to the presidency and his appointment of marijuana foe U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, to be attorney general turns up the heat under these issues.... Congress, ... must aggressively intervene to keep the nation from again wasting its time, money and credibility on a lost war against marijuana.
Many of us were dubious about the wisdom of legalizing another intoxicating substance in a society already plagued with addiction. But this decision has been made, has not had dire consequences, and should be left alone."
Burning questions about Trump’s Cabinet [Editorial] (Newsday [NY], 12/04/16)
By The Editorial Board: Attorney General designate Jeff Sessions, a U.S. senator from Alabama, was an early Trump surrogate, but it’s unclear why. He’s been a culture warrior for decades whose policies are likely to draw the most opposition from Democrats. At what point will Trump tire of the controversies and divisiveness that result?
No filibuster, but AG nominee Sessions still could be derailed [Editorial] (Journal Inquirer [CT], 12/03/16)
"Sessions, who has, to say the least, traces of bigotry in his past, is President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general.
However Republicans joined with Democrats in passing President Lyndon Johnson’s Civil Rights Act. Perhaps more moderate Republicans will recognize that a vote for Sessions will be unpopular with both minority and many majority voters in their states and will join with Democrats in denying him the majority vote he needs to be confirmed as attorney general."
Are Trump’s cabinet selections a hint about how he’ll lead? Absolutely. [Editorial] (Austin American-Statesman [TX] , 12/02/16)
By Editorial Board: "other Trump picks worry us as well, like Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, the president-elect’s nominee for U.S. Attorney General. In 1986, Sessions was essentially considered by a Republican Senate too racist for the role during his confirmation hearing. Two decades later, Sessions has continued to take stances that burden minorities, such as his opposition to bipartisan legislation scaling back outrageously harsh sentences of low-level drug offenders in federal prison, where the majority are disproportionately African-American and Latino. How bad could he be? White supremacists have praised his nomination. If confirmed, Session would no doubt reverse hard-fought progress on civil rights and criminal-justice reform."
Editorial: If it were that easy, Sanjaya would have won ‘Idol’ (Eastern Arizona Courier, 11/30/16)
"And don’t forget about Jeff Sessions, the front-runner for U.S. Attorney General. Congressional hearings show testimony of Sessions allegedly saying the Ku Klux Klan was OK “until I found out they smoked pot,” and that he reportedly called both the NAACP and ACLU “un-American.”"
Don’t reverse state marijuana laws [Editorial] (Spokesman-Review [Spokane, WA], 11/27/16)
"Will Americans get the attorney-general nominee who is a foe of marijuana legalization or the friend of states’ rights?
As a candidate, President-elect Donald Trump said the issue should be left to the states, but Sen. Jeff Sessions’ views are reflected in current federal law, which is stuck in the past. Trump tapped the Alabama Republican for the top job at the U.S. Justice Department.
The consequences for Washington are significant, because it was the feds’ hands-off policy that allowed the state to implement the voters’ wishes when they passed Initiative 502 four years ago.... A return to the “War on Drugs” would be a devastating step back to a time when lives were ruined over marijuana arrests."
As attorney general, Sessions will undo rights [Editorial] (San Antonio Express-News [TX] , 11/27/16)
Express-News Editorial Board: In 1986, Sessions, a federal prosecutor at the time, made history. A GOP-controlled Senate rejected him for a federal judgeship because it believed allegations that he was a racist were credible.... the Senate need not approve a nominee with a record of offending cherished American norms of inclusion and tolerance — even if the president doesn’t have a problem with that behavior. ... In 1986, a GOP-controlled Senate properly concluded that it could not take the chance with a federal judgeship for Sessions, a lifetime position with as much power to erode rights as bolster them.... Sen. Sessions has demonstrated a hostility for immigration, the Voting Rights Act and crime reform to unskew systemic harshness for Americans of color. In advice and consent, the president has no right of consent if a nominee is unacceptable. Sessions is. We will be looking for Texas Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz to reject this nomination, as should the entire Senate.
Immigrants are in a state of panic [Editorial] (Miami Herald, 11/26/16)
MIAMI HERALD EDITORIAL BOARD: It’s telling that Mr. Trump has named Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama to be his attorney general. Sen. Sessions is the leading foe of immigration reform in the U.S. Senate. His nomination to the federal bench years ago, before he was elected to the Senate, was stymied by accusations of racism. There will be time later to examine his credentials for the post of the nation’s top law-enforcement officer. Suffice it to say for now that his nomination offers little reassurance to dampen well-founded fears of what a Trump presidency will bring for immigrant communities and those who cherish civil liberties.
Editorial: Sessions should moderate his stance on marijuana (Daily Democrat [CA] , 11/26/16)
"President-elect Donald Trump’s nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., to be attorney general of the United States rightly has proponents of marijuana legalization troubled.
And they are right to be so.
Sessions, who at an April congressional hearing remarked that “good people don’t smoke marijuana,” and joked in the past that he thought members of the Ku Klux Klan were “okay until I found out they smoked pot,” is a hard-line drug warrior at a time when most of the nation has signaled a willingness to permit marijuana use.
Recent public opinion polls have shown a majority of Americans support legalization... As well, Sessions makes no distinction between medical and recreational use and that’s worrisome."
Editorial: Marijuana legalization should be up to the states (San Jose Mercury News [CA], 11/24/16)
By MERCURY NEWS EDITORIAL BOARD: President-elect Donald Trump’s nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions to be U.S. attorney general raises all kinds of fears across America, the main one being his questionable commitment to civil rights, which the Justice Department is supposed to defend.
But another area of concern, particularly for California, his is stance on marijuana. Sessions is a hard-line drug warrior at a time when most of the nation is regulate instead of criminalize marijuana use.
At an April congressional hearing, Sessions remarked that “good people don’t smoke marijuana.” ... Trump is right on this. The hard-line policy has failed, and allowing states the freedom to experiment with differing approaches to complex problems is often a good idea when voters agree.
AG pick Sessions should moderate his approach to marijuana [Editorial] (Orange County Register [CA] , 11/23/16)
By ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER EDITORIAL BOARD: President-elect Donald Trump’s nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., to be attorney general of the United States rightly has proponents of marijuana legalization troubled.
Sessions, who at an April congressional hearing remarked that “good people don’t smoke marijuana,” and joked in the past that he thought members of the Ku Klux Klan were “okay until I found out they smoked pot,” is a hard-line drug warrior at a time when most of the nation has signaled a willingness to permit marijuana use.... Going on his record and past statements, the prospects of a hands-off approach to marijuana under a Sessions-led DOJ seem dim. “We need grown-ups in charge in Washington saying marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized, it ought to be minimized, that it is in fact a very real danger,” said Sessions at a hearing in April.... Allowing states greater freedom to experiment with differing approaches to complex problems is often desirable, and this is certainly the case with respect to marijuana.
Editorial: Pop culture should reflect a country, not the other way around. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch [MO], 11/22/16)
"But far more important is the fact that Trump has nominated Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions to be his attorney general. The Southern Poverty Law Center has extensively documented Sessions’ ties to anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim groups. He has spoken fervently about the need for a religious test for immigrants. He called the Voting Rights Act “intrusive legislation.”
Trump regards this man as fit to head the Justice Department. And Sessions is just one of Trump’s spectacularly controversial picks."
Editorial: Trump’s new team designed to take the low road (Chicago Sun Times, 11/22/16)
"Then there is Trump’s nominee for attorney general, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama. Putting aside for the moment Sessions’ history of racist remarks, here is a fellow who would throw away the Bill of Rights and impose a religious test — no Muslims — on who could enter the country. He is among the most strident anti-immigration voices in the Senate, opposed to any bill that would allow undocumented immigrants, including those brought here as babies decades ago, even the most limited legal status."
FEATURED EDITORIAL: Wrong choice for AG (Toledo Blade [OH], 11/22/16)
"The attorney general of the United States should be someone above politics. Especially now.
Instead, President-elect Donald Trump has chosen Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.), the first senator to endorse him for president and a key policy adviser and political ally."
The for-profit presidency [Editorial] (Baltimore Sun, 11/21/16)
"[T]he jaw-dropping nomination of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III as attorney general, the 69-year-old Alabama senator deemed too racist during the Reagan era to be a federal judge. Yes, America, that's the man who could be enforcing voting rights and civil rights for the next four years. (Or not enforcing them, that is.)"
Editorial: Trump's fringe loyalists take over (Tampa Bay Times [FL], 11/21/16)
"Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, who will be nominated by Trump to become attorney general, was an early supporter of the campaign and an outspoken advocate of the harshest treatment of undocumented immigrants. He was among those Trump followers who were open to a ban on Muslim immigrants, which surely would be unconstitutional. His hostility toward gay marriage and voting rights is well-documented and prehistoric.
Three decades ago, the Republican-controlled Senate refused to confirm Sessions after President Ronald Reagan nominated him to be a federal judge following testimony by former colleagues that he had made racially insensitive comments. Now a man who has derided the Voting Rights Act, continued to support tough prison sentences for minor drug offenses and would not look favorably on the decision by Florida voters to approve medical marijuana is poised to become attorney general? The Senate should be just as skeptical of Sessions and his ability to treat all Americans equally as it was in 1986."
Editorial: ‘Hamilton’ owes no apology to Trump or Pence (San Jose Mercury News [CA], 11/21/16)
"[T]he message, a hope that the new leaders will represent all Americans, was not wrong.
Millions share the fear implicit in Dixon’s statement, and with reason.
In the past week, Trump appointed Jeff Sessions, a politician once deemed too racist for a judicial appointment, as U.S. attorney general to uphold civil rights laws of the land."