Yesterday, in a disappointing 52-47 vote, the Senate confirmed Sen. Jeff Sessions to be the U.S. Attorney General, despite his deep and broad record of hostility to the key laws that he will be charged with enforcing. NWLC is deeply concerned that, under his leadership, enforcement of core legal protections for women, people of color, LGBTQ people, and immigrants by the Department of Justice would be ignored at best, but more likely challenged and undermined. Women seeking to exercise their right to basic health services and health care providers could be at risk; women asserting their right to equal pay could face new hurdles; women subjected to domestic abuse and sexual assault could lose Justice Department protection; immigrants could face government harassment and prosecution; victims of police misconduct could be abandoned; those seeking to exercise their right to vote under the Voting Rights Act could confront a Department that is an adversary; those facing hate crimes could lose confidence in the Department’s prosecution of the perpetrators. Events over the past two weeks raise further, and very serious concerns, about Sen. Sessions’ ability to operate independently from the White House as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer.
The consequences are great and the dangers to the pursuit of justice in our country grave. History has proven that we cannot depend on Jeff Sessions to defend our rights — and his confirmation makes ensuring that the Supreme Court acts as an independent check on the Executive Branch even more critically important.