Jeff Sessions on Voting Rights Act: ‘a piece of intrusive legislation’

A point that bears repeating: Jefferson Beauregard Sessions was too racist even for the Reagan-era Senate, as Sarah Wildman’s 2002 profile observes:

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.” In his confirmation hearings, Sessions sealed his own fate by saying such groups could be construed as “un-American” when “they involve themselves in promoting un-American positions” in foreign policy. Hebert testified that the young lawyer tended to “pop off” on such topics regularly, noting that Sessions had called a white civil rights lawyer a “disgrace to his race” for litigating voting rights cases. Sessions acknowledged making many of the statements attributed to him but claimed that most of the time he had been joking, saying he was sometimes “loose with [his] tongue.” He admitted to calling the Voting Rights Act of 1965 a “piece of intrusive legislation,” a phrase he stood behind even in his confirmation hearings

Forget the rest for the moment. A piece of intrusive legislation is not too far from what Senator Barry Goldwater said in his purportedly rational opposition to the Civil rights Act, a naked bid to win the votes of segregationists. Continuing its quest to make Donald Trump as boring as a filing cabinet, The Fix quotes Sessions’ token senate race opposition in 2002, who received a handkerchief from Sessions after he’d made her cry during a debate: “Please don’t say that. That’s my nightmare. I promise I’ll be nice.” Southern men — they never forget their fine manners.

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