Hat tip to TPM for unearthing this 1986 news segment on the Senate Judiciary Committee's rejection of “controversial U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions” for a federal judgeship.
Today's New York Times carried a less than flattering piece on Sessions' unlikely history with the Judiciary Committee. Emphasis mine.
Though Mr. Sessions disputed many of the incidents and dismissed others as what would now be called politically incorrect jokes, Mr. Sessions did not back off his criticism of the Voting Rights Act, which had helped southern blacks overcome obstacles to voting.
Central to the complaints of his critics was his prosecution of three civil rights activists on voter fraud charges arising from the 1984 elections in Alabama. They were acquitted, and his foes saw the charges as petty and politically motivated, evidence of the prosecutor’s own bias.
“I felt strongly that a conviction was warranted,” Mr. Sessions said. “The jury didn’t.”
Sessions' history as a reject for the federal bench has been well publicized, but I agree with David Waldman that the accusations of racism are not the only — or perhaps even the most — troubling part of our junior Senator's background. Emphasis mine.
But here's something that I think is being overlooked in that. It's definitely a seminal part of the record on the accusations of racism, but there's a more salient point to be gleaned from it, in my opinion: Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III is one of the original politicized Republican US Attorneys, present at the creation of the still-active conspiracy to use partisan-driven, trumped up “voter fraud” charges to suppress traditionally Democratic African-American voter turnout.
Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III may or may not be an old school racist. But there's little doubt he's an original gangster Republican US Attorney. And with Judiciary Committee subpoenas still outstanding for testimony in the Bush/Cheney White House's outrageous escalation of this campaign, and strong public support for getting to the bottom of it, it seems more than a little ridiculous for the ranking member of the Committee to be a guy who actually made his political bones committing the very same political subterfuge they're (supposed to be) investigating.
Ridiculous? Maybe not. Prominent Republicans — Cheney, G.W. Bush, Rumsfeld, A. Gonzales, Rove, to name just a few — have a vested interest in keeping the whole selective prosecution/U.S. Attorney investigation under wraps. How better to do that than to put an insider like Sessions in as Ranking Member on Judiciary?
Send someone who knows where the bodies are buried to make sure the bodies stay buried, kapisch?