President elect Trump has appointed Senator Jeff Sessions,the 3 term junior US Senator from Alabama, to be the next attorney general of the US. I do not know Senator Sessions personally, but living in the same general area of the country, he is often on my radar screen.
Sessions (Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III) has been called by the “National Journal” the fifth most conservative US Senator. He has supported a national amendment to ban same sex marriage (remember, he is from the state where the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Roy Moore, has been cited and suspended from the high court by the Court of the Judiciary because he told Alabama’s probate judges to defy the federal court orders on same sex marriage — the same guy, who in 2003, was taken off the bench when he defied orders to take down the 10 Commandments monument from the state judicial building) and has supported other conservative measures, including opposition to abortion and illegal immigration. (Now, don’t get me wrong, I oppose illegal immigration, too, but our entire immigration system is “broke” and we won’t fix it with hostility.)
When Sessions was Attorney General of Alabama, he worked to deny funding to student Gay-Straight alliances at Auburn and the University of South Alabama. It is positions like this one that earned him a zero (0) rating from the Human Rights Campaign. And Oregon in particular is concerned because of his rather rabid anti-marijuana position. (Apparently his rabid anti-marijuana sentiments came to light during his hearing before the Senate to become a federal judge in Alabama. An African American man whom Sessions had worked with on some policy issues alleged to the committee that Sessions had said that he approved of the Ku Klux Klan until he realized that some of them smoked marijuana but that folks that smoke marijuana are “bad” people. This was reported by Ken Rudin, of NPR in his blog, Political Junkie,” posted on May 5, 2009. He didn’t get confirmed.)
As the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee in the 110th Congress, while questioning Judge Sonia Sotomayor upon her nomination to the Supreme Court, he noted that “empathy for one party is always prejudice against another.” (My understanding of the meaning of empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within the other being’s frame of reference — to walk a mile in those shoes, so to speak. I would hope that every judge in the land has empathy for every litigant.) He also questioned her on her position relative to the use of foreign legal materials in considering US constitutional cases. (Scalia hated the use of foreign legal materials; Breyer loves the use of foreign legal materials. All I know is that after the US constitution was adopted, we relied on foreign legal materials all the time. We had no case law of our own, so courts often turned to Britain for guidance. British common law is still a moving force in our American rule of law.) And he made it clear that he did not like the fact that Judge Sotomayor had served as a board member of Latino Justice (formerly known as the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education fund) which was founded as a US non-profit in 1972, taking the lead from the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund which Thurgood Marshall had established in 1957.
So, it sorta seems to me that Senator Sessions doesn’t like people who think differently from him. He seems to actually simply disregard him. I guess his empathy level is not too high.
I’m not even going to discuss his views on women.