Editorials and Opinion
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."
Jeff Sessions, attorney general? [Editorial] (Dothan Eagle [AL], 11/20/16)
"While Sessions served as a U.S. attorney in Alabama, then-President Ronald Reagan nominated him for a federal judgeship in 1986, but his confirmation failed in the wake of allegations that he had made racist comments to a black assistant U.S. attorney and called the NAACP “un-American” and “communist-inspired.”... Whether the controversies that held up his confirmation to the federal court will trip him up again is anyone’s guess. As a current member of the Senate, his colleagues may be more willing to set aside 30-year-old allegations."
Editorial: What Jeff Sessions has to prove [Print headline: Scrutinizing Mr. Sessions; Can Mr. Trump's choice for attorney general provide objective and impartial justice?] (Washington Post, 11/20/16)
"What many do question, however, is Mr. Sessions’s commitment to the full historic range of Justice Department missions. They are right to do so, and not simply because he made offensive racial remarks in conversations more than three decades ago, comments which cost him confirmation to a federal judgeship during the Reagan administration. Even more relevant is Mr. Sessions’s Senate record over the past two decades: hostility to immigration reform bills, unrelenting skepticism toward vigorous federal enforcement of the Voting Rights Act and opposition to moderate gun-control measures such as limits on high-capacity magazines for firearms.... legitimate, and utterly necessary, will be a thorough, penetrating Senate confirmation process, in which Mr. Sessions is vigorously challenged to explain how he intends to provide the objective, impartial justice of which Ms. Feinstein spoke, in the eyes of all citizens. The record suggests Mr. Sessions carries a heavy burden of persuasion, and carry it he must, lest millions of Americans lose faith in the nation’s highest law enforcement official and the proud, powerful department he would head."
Jeff Sessions as Attorney General: An Insult to Justice [Editorial] (New York Times, 11/19/16)
"In 1986, President Ronald Reagan nominated Jeff Sessions, then a United States attorney from Alabama, to be a federal judge. The Republican-controlled Senate rejected Mr. Sessions out of concern, based on devastating testimony by former colleagues, that he was a racist.... the years since his last confirmation hearing reveal a pattern of dogged animus to civil rights and the progress of black Americans and immigrants.... We expect today’s senators, like their predecessors in 1986, to examine Mr. Sessions’s views and record with bipartisan rigor. If they do, it is hard to imagine that they will endorse a man once rejected for a low-level judgeship to safeguard justice for all Americans as attorney general."
Editorial: Trump’s early picks cause for concern (Delaware County Daily Times [PA], 11/19/16)
"Donald Trump’s refusal to distance himself from extreme, even fringe conservatives was troubling.
Not much has chanced since his stunning victory.
His early choices - from making Steve Bannon his right-hand man, to early picks for attorney general and other key spots - only enforce what many had feared....On Friday, it was more of the same, with extreme conservatives being tapped as attorney general, head of national security, and CIA boss.... For attorney general, Trump has tapped Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, the only Republican senator who publicly supported his campaign. He’s tapped Rep. Mike Pompeo to head the CIA and former military intelligence chief Michael Flynn as his national security adviser.
All three have been fierce critics of President Barack Obama’s handling of terrorism and international relations. In tapping Sessions and Flynn, Trump is also rewarding loyalty from two of his most ardent supporters during the presidential campaign."
Troubling choice for attorney general: Philadelphia Tribune Editorial (Philadelphia Tribune [PA], 11/18/16)
"Sessions is a troubling choice.
The Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony in 1986 in which Sessions was accused of making racist remarks and calling the NAACP and ACLU “un-American.”... As attorney general, Sessions would be responsible for upholding civil rights laws, and the Senate Judiciary Committee should not give their senate colleague a pass but question him thoroughly on past allegations and his current views on civil rights and civil liberties."
Gazette editorial: A voice for the Old South to enforce federal civil rights laws? (Charleston Gazette [WV] , 11/18/16)
"incoming President Trump announced that his attorney general will be Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. — who once was rejected for a federal judgeship because he had a record of racial bigotry. ... The Nation magazine called Sessions “a leading voice for the Old South and the conservative white backlash vote.” The New York Times wondered how a former Dixie racist can uphold federal equality laws.
If this is a sample of the incoming Trump administration, it bodes ill for America."
EDITORIAL: Sessions' exit may cause power gap (Montgomery Advertiser [AL], 11/18/16)
"We urge Sessions to remember that caution, humility, a willingness to listen to other views and seek reasonable compromise are the true hallmarks of leadership and what all Americans should demand of seasoned politicians. The attorney general must conduct himself with probity and integrity, seeking justice for citizens of all races and religions and avoiding partisan witch hunts.
Past accusations of racism on Sessions' part are troubling, and through his actions as attorney general he must prove them false."
The nation's now getting to know Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions [Editorial] (Anniston Star [AL] , 11/18/16)
"The nation is viewing the resume of a Southerner with what the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights calls a “record of hostility” toward voting rights, especially voting rights for minorities.
His failed nomination for a Reagan-era federal judgeship is being recounted, with pundits rightly examining the racist comments Sessions allegedly made to colleagues. (Two examples: Sessions admitted to calling civil-rights organizations such as the NAACP “un-American” and describing the Voting Rights Act of 1965 “a piece of intrusive legislation.”)
And his committed belief that voter fraud is a rampant problem in America — despite statistics that prove otherwise — is fueling concerns that a Sessions-led Justice Department will strongly embrace voter-ID laws that hamper minority voting....Count us among those who consider many of the senator’s positions out of touch in today’s America."
America can’t risk a cabinet of deplorables [Editorial] (Sacramento Bee [CA] , 11/18/16)
"For someone with as little government and foreign policy experience and knowledge as Trump, it’s dangerous if he’s surrounded by like-minded loyalists who won’t challenge him or control his worst instincts.... Trump’s nomination for attorney general, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, is also troubling, but will face a Senate review.
After soothing words about uniting all Americans, Trump tapped alt-right provocateur Steve Bannon as his chief strategist. He now wants another divisive figure as the person supposed to guarantee that all Americans are treated equally under the law.
The first U.S. senator to endorse Trump and vice chairman of his transition team, Sessions backed Trump’s hard line on immigration. Civil rights groups and Democrats immediately objected to Sessions, based on those views and a record of racially charged comments. First elected in 1996, he withdrew from consideration for a federal judgeship in 1986 after accusations that he made racist comments while U.S. attorney."
Editorial Trump's first three appointees sound a lot like him, and that's troubling (Los Angeles Times, 11/18/16)
"President-elect Donald Trump has announced his first appointments, and anyone who hoped that he would reach out to more mainstream voices in his party — or make a gesture to the majority of voters who didn’t support him — will be deeply disappointed. Trump campaigned on a platform of hostility toward immigrants and Muslims and portrayed his Democratic opponent as a criminal; the three appointees announced Friday share some or all of those noxious views.... Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, Trump’s choice for attorney general, was an early supporter of Trump’s campaign and, not coincidentally, has relentlessly opposed legislation that would provide a path to citizenship for immigrants living in the country illegally. More problematic is that Sessions led the charge against a rational and bipartisan immigration reform bill.
Sessions also is a troubling choice for those who expect the Justice Department to be vigilant about the protection of the civil rights of racial minorities. Thirty years ago the Senate Judiciary Committee rejected his nomination for a federal judgeship after allegations (which he denied) that he made racist remarks. On Friday the president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund said that Sessions had a “decades-long record . . . of opposing civil rights and equality.”... In Sessions’ case, he must overcome widespread skepticism about whether he is committed to use the power of the federal government to protect the rights of minorities, including the right to vote. No one expects a Trump Justice Department to have the same policy priorities as an Obama Justice Department, but lax enforcement of civil rights laws is not an option. If the Senate isn’t satisfied that Sessions will enforce the law, it should withhold its approval."
EDITORIAL: What an Obama DOJ Gave Us, and What a Trump DOJ Could Take Away; The prospect of an Attorney General Jeff Sessions poses particular risks to Seattle. (Seattle Weekly [WA], 11/02/16)
SW EDITORIAL BOARD: we are reminded of how much we’ve taken Obama’s progressive stewardship for granted, ... This was underscored last Thursday with the announcement that Sen. Jeff Sessions, a deeply conservative senator from Alabama, would be Trump’s nominee for attorney general. ... in Sessions, Trump appears to have tapped as the country’s top law-enforcement official a man whose views on law and order are as obsolete as Richard Nixon’s reel-to-reel—ideas that should be allowed to rest in peace, not exhumed for a zombie encore. Specifically, his record on marijuana and race suggests that amid all the unique threats that Trump poses as an individual, it’s his party’s platform that may well prove to be immediately destructive next year, including in Seattle.... Jeff Sessions. On both race and pot, he is about as evolved as a trilobite.