Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh has joined a coalition of top state prosecutors who are urging a U.S. Senate committee to reject Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions as the next U.S. attorney general.
“It is imperative that the Justice Department be led by an individual on whom our nation can rely to diligently and fairly enforce all laws protective of civil rights, public safety, health and welfare,” Frosh and the others wrote. They said that while Sessions is familiar with these duties, “his record in these positions causes us grave concern.”
Trump tapped Sessions as his pick for U.S. attorney general shortly after he was elected president in November. Sessions already endured a two-day hearing before the 20-member Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this month.The committee is set to vote on whether to approve him on Tuesday, Jan. 24.
Frosh and the others — Eric T. Schneiderman of New York, Ellen F. Rosenblum of New York, Maura Healey of Massachusetts, Doug Chin of Hawaii and Karl Racine of the District of Columbia — wrote in their letter that Sessions isn’t right for the job for a multitude of reasons. Chief among them, they say, are that he hasn’t protected minorities and other vulnerable populations, has made bigoted remarks, has rejected “sensible” reforms supported by both Republicans and Democrats and did a poor job of managing his office as Alabama attorney general.
For their evidence, they pointed to his tenure as U.S. attorney general for the Southern District of Alabama from 1981 to 1993 and attorney general of Alabama from 1995 to 1997.
Among the examples they cite are his labeling of the NAACP as “un-American,” calling a black assistant U.S. attorney “boy” and saying the KKK was “OK” — though that was only before he learned some of its members smoked weed. They also say he also opposed measures that would reduce “expensive, unjust, and ineffective” mass incarceration and earned a reprimand for the Circuit Court of Alabama as the state’s attorney general for not turning over evidence, disregarding court discovery orders, using deceptive testimony and lying to the court.
“Senator Sessions has stood for policies antithetical to this core mission of the Justice Department,” Frosh and the others wrote in conclusion.
The coalition isn’t the first to write an advisory letter regarding Sessions’ nomination, however. In December, 25 state attorneys general wrote a letter to the committee in support of Sessions’ nomination. “Senator Sessions has proven over a long and distinguished career that he has the character to serve as United States Attorney General for all Americans,” they wrote, adding, “We urge his confirmation.”
Unless the letter from Frosh’s coalition holds particular weight for the Senate Judiciary Committee’s members, they will likely approve the Alabama senator for the top spot in the Justice Department. We’ll know for sure next Tuesday.