Common Cause NC delivers petition opposing Sessions for AG
Nearly 10,000 North Carolinians signed on, urging Sen. Thom Tillis to reject the nomination of Jeff Sessions for U.S. Attorney General

By Bryan Warner
Posted: Jan. 24, 2017

RALEIGH – Common Cause members in North Carolina joined with activists in a dozen states on Tuesday in delivering petitions urging their respective U.S. senators to vote against the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions to serve as U.S. Attorney General.

The Common Cause NC members delivered the petition signed by almost 10,000 North Carolina citizens to Sen. Thom Tillis' office in downtown Raleigh.

For decades, Sessions has been an outspoken critic of the Voting Rights Act, one of the nation’s most crucial pieces of civil and voting rights legislation, which paved the way for an inclusive democracy. As Attorney General, Sessions would be charged with deciding how and when to enforce the Voting Rights Act, which he has repeatedly condemned as an “intrusive piece of legislation.”

"In North Carolina we know all too well the vital need for strong enforcement of the Voting Rights Act to protect the right of every North Carolinian to vote," said Jay Gladieux, a Common Cause NC board member who led the group delivering the petition. "Just last year, a federal court ruled that provisions of a new voting law passed by the state legislature were written to 'target African-Americans with almost surgical precision.' We hope Senator Tillis will recognize that his Senate colleague Jeff Sessions is the wrong man for the job of Attorney General."

Petitions were also delivered to district offices of Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), John McCain (R-AZ), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Tom Carper (D-DE), Chris Coons (D-DE), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Jon Tester (D-MT), Dean Heller (R-NV), Bob Casey (D-PA) and Joe Manchin (D-WV).

“Senator Sessions represents a very serious threat to the Voting Rights Act and to the ability of millions of Americans to cast their ballots on Election Day,” said Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn. “The right to vote is a touchstone of our democracy and we want the Senators we are contacting to be fully aware that their constituents are watching closely to see where they come down on this vote.”

On only a handful of occasions in its 46-year history has Common Cause opposed presidential nominees. Sessions' nomination was added to that short list based on his record and his longtime criticism of many of the laws he would be charged with enforcing as Attorney General.

Common Cause previously opposed the nominations of Robert Bork to the U.S. Supreme Court, John Tower as Secretary of Defense and Ed Meese as U.S. Attorney General. The nominations of Bork and Tower were rejected by the U.S. Senate. Meese was confirmed and served as Attorney General but resigned from office over his role in a defense contracting scandal.

In 1986, Sessions' nomination to U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama was rejected by a Republican-controlled U.S. Senate. After listening to extensive testimony about controversial statements made and actions taken by Sessions, the Judiciary Committee was unable to muster enough votes to pass the nomination on to the full Senate.

For his current nomination, Sessions attempted to create for himself a civil rights record that simply does not exist. As three former DOJ attorneys noted in a recent op-ed, Sessions completed no substantive work on at least three of the four cases he claimed in his recent questionnaire as representing his most significant civil rights cases. Tellingly, Sessions failed to include these same cases in his questionnaire for his unsuccessful 1986 nomination to a federal judgeship.

Common Cause NC is a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging citizen participation in democracy.


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