In other leadership news -- Trent Lott (R-CSA) is trying to get back into a high-level post within the GOP Senate caucus. I'm confused. My recollection was that after Lott was exposed as a die-hard segregationist, the American conservative movement washed their hands of him and made him a committee chair banished him from the realm as a token of their commitment to the new rightwingery with twice the homophobia and half the racism. Now they're going back on all that? Didn't everyone love Michael Steele.

Meanwhile, Jeff Sessions also wants in on the leadership. Really? This Jeff Sessions:

Sessions was U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama. The year before his nomination to federal court, he had unsuccessfully prosecuted three civil rights workers--including Albert Turner, a former aide to Martin Luther King Jr.--on a tenuous case of voter fraud. The three had been working in the "Black Belt" counties of Alabama, which, after years of voting white, had begun to swing toward black candidates as voter registration drives brought in more black voters. Sessions's focus on these counties to the exclusion of others caused an uproar among civil rights leaders, especially after hours of interrogating black absentee voters produced only 14 allegedly tampered ballots out of more than 1.7 million cast in the state in the 1984 election. . . .

On its own, the case might not have been enough to stain Sessions with the taint of racism, but there was more. Senate Democrats tracked down a career Justice Department employee named J. Gerald Hebert, who testified, albeit reluctantly, that in a conversation between the two men Sessions had labeled the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) "un-American" and "Communist-inspired." Hebert said Sessions had claimed these groups "forced civil rights down the throats of people." . . .

Another damaging witness--a black former assistant U.S. Attorney in Alabama named Thomas Figures--testified that, during a 1981 murder investigation involving the Ku Klux Klan, Sessions was heard by several colleagues commenting that he "used to think they [the Klan] were OK" until he found out some of them were "pot smokers." . . .

He was elected attorney general in 1994. Once in office, he was linked with a second instance of investigating absentee ballots and fraud that directly impacted the black community. He was also accused of not investigating the church burnings that swept the state of Alabama the year he became attorney general.



He got to the US Senate after that (Alabama, you know) and you'll be shocked to know he's racked up a voting record that's not especially solicitous of the interests of black people.

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