Jeff Sessions, attorney general of the United States. The man who was too racist to be a federal judge. Thirty years ago. That is, he was too out there for the racial sensitivities of 30 years ago. And now he’s going to be the boss of every federal judge in the United States.
I remember the Sessions judicial nomination as it unfolded in real time, remember that he said he thought the Ku Klux Klan was all right until he found out some of them smoked dope, that he said the ACLU and NAACP were commie front groups. His nomination was rejected by the Senate Judiciary Committee, making him the first Reagan federal bench appointee to be so rejected.
Down in Alabama, that counted as a credit, not a blemish. In 1994, he was easily elected the state attorney general and two years later won his Senate seat. If he’s changed his views on such matters over the years, he’s given little public indication of having done so.
What will a Sessions-led Justice Department do? We can only imagine. There aren’t going to be any Voting Rights Act violation prosecutions, we can count on that. Instead we’re going to see “voter fraud” prosecutions. (Sessions initiated such criminal prosecutions in Alabama years ago.) We’re going to see the department provide whatever leeway and encouragement it can to states that want to do even more voter suppression.
Think also of what this will do to morale and personnel within the department. Divisions within the department will see their missions perverted and turned completely on their heads. The civil-rights division is going to have put a big poster of Orwell on the wall.
Even Trump may not be arrogant enough to take on The Washington Post, say, on direct First Amendment grounds. No—what you do is go after Jeff Bezos in some other way. Find some dirt on Amazon, try to break him that way. I’m just saying keep an eye out for it.
But let’s go back to the lede here: We’re going to have Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Muslim-loathing National Security Adviser Mike Flynn. And alt-right propaganda visionary turned top political strategist Steve Bannon.
Three’s a pattern, not an accident. And who thinks it’s going to stop at three? This is as ghastly a start as could have been imagined.