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The Worst Thing About Sessions? Everything We Already Knew.

"The contents of Sessions’ contacts with the Russian ambassador would have to be pretty egregious to even hold a candle to his lifetime record of reaction on civil rights." (Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/cc)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is in hot water following revelations that he met twice with Russia’s U.S. ambassador when he was a surrogate for the Trump campaign — and then lied about it to Congress. Many of his critics are now calling for his resignation.

The contents of Sessions’ talks with the Russians aren’t known. But it’s worth taking a look at other highlights from his biography that are perfectly well known — but weren’t enough to keep him from getting the top law enforcement job in the country.

For example, Sessions was barred from a federal judgeship in the 1980s due to concern about his racist attitudes.

As a senator, he voted to undermine the Voting Rights Act of 1964 and racked up a 20-plus year track record of opposing LGBTQ rights. He even voted against the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, and opposed adding crimes against gay people to the list of hate crimes.

Unsurprisingly, Sessions has a miserable 7 percent rating from the NAACP on affirmative action, and scores just 20 percent from the ACLU with regard to upholding civil rights.

As attorney general, he’s given clear indications that he’ll turn a blind eye to police brutality. And  in his first hours in office, he rushed to rescind the Obama-era guidance that clarified that school children couldn’t be discriminated against based on their gender.

None of this seems to disqualify him, in the eyes of his party loyalists and the Trump administration, as the arbiter-in-chief of justice and civil rights in the United States of America.

Now though, some Republicans are calling on Sessions to recuse himself from overseeing the investigation of Russian hacking into our elections because — well, he himself may just prove to be a Russian hack. Sessions reluctantly agreed, but many on the left are still demanding his resignation.

We don’t know if Sessions was party to this Russian scheming or no. Though, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck… well, you know the rest.

Whatever the case, the contents of Sessions’ contacts with the Russian ambassador would have to be pretty egregious to even hold a candle to his lifetime record of reaction on civil rights. But if the taint of being associated with Russian hacking is enough to spur the eventual resignation of a guy — or a duck, as the case may be — who appears to hold justice and civil rights to be repugnant ideas, we say: Let the Grand Old Party descend and send him quacking.

Karen Dolan

Karen Dolan

Karen Dolan is a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and directs the Criminalization of Poverty project there. She is author of "The Poor Get Prison: The Alarming Spread of the Criminalization of Poverty." Follow her on Twitter: @karendolan

Peter Certo

Peter Certo

Peter Certo is the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) editorial manager.

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