Statement on the Confirmation of Sen. Jeff Sessions as Attorney General
Today, the Senate voted to confirm Sen. Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. In this role, Sen. Sessions will be in charge of the Department of Justice, responsible for enforcing the civil rights laws of the United States. The National Center for Transgender Equality has been part of an unprecedented and diverse swell of opposition to Sen. Sessions’ nomination.
In response to this news, Mara Keisling, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said:
Today is a deeply distressing day for civil rights. By voting to confirm Sen. Sessions as Attorney General, these 52 senators are endorsing his extensive and extreme record of anti-LGBT, racist, xenophobic, and anti-civil rights statements and actions. As U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, Attorney General of Alabama, and for decades as a senator, Sen. Sessions built his career on obstructing civil rights.
When it comes to LGBT people, Sen. Sessions’ track record is bleak. He has consistently opposed legal protections for or even recognition of LGBT people, voting against the 2009 Hate Crimes Prevention Act, protections for LGBT survivors of sexual violence under the Violence Against Women Act, and the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. He was a leading proponent of amending the US Constitution to prevent LGBT couples from marrying, and as a Sen. and a nominee he strongly supported establishing an affirmative and sweeping legal right to discriminate against LGBT people in all areas of their lives.
Because of this disturbing record, we have been and continue to be gravely concerned about how his leadership of the Department of Justice will affect the 1.4 million transgender adults, and hundreds of thousands of transgender children and adolescents, who live in the United States. We are particularly troubled when it comes to transgender people who are also people of color or immigrants, as well as those who will also be affected by Sen. Sessions’ opposition to sensible, bipartisan criminal justice reform.
We hope that as Attorney General, Sen. Sessions will continue the Department of Justice’s work to protect the rights of all Americans. We also hope that he will meet with transgender people—and particularly transgender students—to hear about their experiences with discrimination at work, in school, and in other areas of their lives. We will be watching closely and will fight back against any rollback of civil rights or voting rights this Department of Justice tries to push through.