Politics & Government

NC law professors join 1,400 nationally opposed to Jeff Sessions as attorney general

More than three dozen law professors from North Carolina schools have joined some 1,400 law school faculty from across the country who have signed a statement urging the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to reject Donald Trump’s nominee for U.S. Attorney General, Jeff Sessions.

The 37 N.C. law professors – from Duke University, UNC-Chapel Hill, Wake Forest, Elon, the Charlotte Law School and N.C. Central University – raised concerns with the others signing the statement about Sessions’ prosecution of three civil rights activists in 1985 for voter fraud in Alabama, calling it “misguided.” Some expressed concerns about his support for building a wall along the country’s southern border and his “robust support for regressive drug policies that have fueled mass incarceration.”

Concerns were raised, too, about his “repeated opposition to legislative efforts to promote the right of women and members of the LGBT community” and about his “questioning of the relationship between fossil fuels and climate change.”

The signers stated that they believed it was “unacceptable for someone with Senator Sessions’ record to lead the Department of Justice.”

To bolster their case, they noted that in 1986, the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee, in a bipartisan vote, rejected him for a U.S. District Judge post he had been nominated for by then President Ronald Reagan.

“As law faculty who work every day to better understand the law and teach it to our students, we are convinced that Jeff Sessions will not fairly enforce our nation’s laws and promote justice and equality in the United States,” the statement says.

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled confirmation hearings for Tuesday and Wednesday.

Amid the protests of Trump’s choice to lead the federal justice department, others who have worked with Sessions in recent years have described the opposition as allegations from people who have spent little time with the Republican senator from Alabama.

Sessions’s former chief counsel William Smith, who is African American, has said that people who call Sessions racially insensitive are “just lying. And they should stop the smear campaign.”

Anne Blythe: 919-836-4948, @AnneBlythe1