U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions has been endorsed by Black GOP Sen. Tim Scott for the role of U.S. attorney general, an unsurprising stance for a lawmaker who tends to toe the party line.

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C. exits the stage after speaking during a commemoration ceremony for the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which abolished slavery in the United States, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, in Emancipation Hall on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C. exits the stage after speaking during a commemoration ceremony for the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which abolished slavery in the United States, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, in Emancipation Hall on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Almost as soon as President-elect Donald Trump announced his pick for U.S. attorney general, civil rights groups began protesting Sessions’ confirmation. In fact, protestors interrupted the nominee’s confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee which began Jan. 10.  The Alabama Republican has been accused of being racist and having a dodgy history on civil rights, accusations that helped to stymie his confirmation to a federal bench in 1986.

“To have this man over the Justice Department is a nightmare we cannot wake up from,” said the Rev. Al Sharpton, as previously reported by the AFRO. “It (the Department) is not a bully pulpit for those that want to change the clock on civil rights and voting rights. We will not stand by quietly and see the clock turned back.”

It is because of those allegations, Scott said, that he made sure to do his own “homework” on the nominee.

“After his nomination, I invited Senator Sessions to Charleston, South Carolina in December of 2016 to meet with African-American pastors, law enforcement and leaders of color. We had what both the attendees and I believe to be a very productive conversation, which gave us all a clearer picture of not only Jeff’s policy positions, but what is in his heart,” Scott said in a statement. “I have also talked on multiple occasions with leaders from Alabama, closely reviewed both the Congressional testimony and news coverage of Senator Sessions’ hearing in 1986, and studied Jeff’s career as a whole.

Scott added, “While many of the allegations brought up 30 years ago were and are disputed, there are many facts that are absolutely clear. Jeff is committed to upholding the Constitution of the United States. He joined multiple desegregation lawsuits while serving as a U.S. Attorney, protecting the civil rights of students seeking equal educational opportunity. He ensured a KKK murderer received the death penalty. He voted for the first Black Attorney General of the United States, and championed the effort to award Rosa Parks the Congressional Gold Medal.

“I have gotten to know Jeff over my four years in the Senate, and have found him to be a consistently fair person. . . . For all of these reasons, today I am announcing my support for Senator Jeff Sessions as Attorney General of the United States,” Scott concluded.

The South Carolina senator is not the only prominent African-American Republican to back the nominee. Condoleezza Rice, who became the first African-American woman to serve as secretary of state under the George Bush administration, endorsed Sessions on Jan. 9, CNN reported.

“He is a man who is committed to justice and knows that law and order are necessary to guarantee freedom and liberty,” the Alabama native reportedly wrote in a letter to Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the committee. “I know that Sen. Sessions will uphold the laws of our great country and will work to ensure that every person here in the United States is given the voice that is deserved.”

 

Zenitha Prince

Special to the AFRO