Merkley Statement on Jeff Sessions’ Nomination as Attorney General

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement on Attorney General nominee Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL). Merkley held the floor from 2am to 4am this morning to protest Sessions’ nomination.

“In 1986, Coretta Scott King wrote in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee that Jeff Sessions ‘has used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens.’ Based on her testimony and the testimony of others, the Senate Judiciary Committee rejected his nomination to be a federal judge.

“Thirty-one years later, Jeff Sessions is now before the Senate again, nominated by the President to the top law enforcement office in the land. We need an Attorney General who will be a passionate and dedicated advocate for what our pledge of allegiance famously describes as ‘liberty and justice for all.’

“In his years in the Senate, Jeff Sessions has been a vehement opponent of LGBTQ rights, opposing the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act and the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. And he has continued to advocate for voter suppression, despite the fact that our nation is founded on voter empowerment, even cheering the Supreme Court’s gutting of the Voting Rights Act as ‘good news for the South.’

“Jeff Sessions’ record is not that of a man who will champion ‘liberty and justice for all,’ and that is why I oppose his nomination to this key post.”