TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Tax Profs Join Over 1,300 Law Profs In Opposing Jeff Sessions For Attorney General

DOJ Logo (2016)Statement From Law School Faculty Opposing Nomination of Jeff Sessions for the Position of Attorney General:

We are 1330 faculty members from 177 different law schools in 49 states across the country. We urge you to reject the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions for the position of Attorney General of the United States.

In 1986, the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee, in a bipartisan vote, rejected President Ronald Reagan’s nomination of then-U.S. Attorney Sessions for a federal judgeship, due to statements Sessions had made that reflected prejudice against African Americans. Nothing in Senator Sessions’ public life since 1986 has convinced us that he is a different man than the 39-year-old attorney who was deemed too racially insensitive to be a federal district court judge.

Some of us have concerns about his misguided prosecution of three civil rights activists for voter fraud in Alabama in 1985, and his consistent promotion of the myth of voter-impersonation fraud. Some of us have concerns about his support for building a wall along our country’s southern border. Some of us have concerns about his robust support for regressive drug policies that have fueled mass incarceration. Some of us have concerns about his questioning of the relationship between fossil fuels and climate change. Some of us have concerns about his repeated opposition to legislative efforts to promote the rights of women and members of the LGBTQ community. Some of us share all of these concerns.

All of us believe it is unacceptable for someone with Senator Sessions’ record to lead the Department of Justice.

The Attorney General is the top law enforcement officer in the United States, with broad jurisdiction and prosecutorial discretion, which means that, if confirmed, Jeff Sessions would be responsible for the enforcement of the nation’s civil rights, voting, immigration, environmental, employment, national security, surveillance, antitrust, and housing laws.

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. We urge you to reject his nomination.

Tax Prof signatories include:

  • Nancy S. Abramowitz (American)
  • Jennifer E. Bird-Pollan (Kentucky)
  • Cynthia Blum (Rutgers)
  • Karen Brown (George Washington)
  • Fred B. Brown (Baltimore)
  • Danshera Cords (Pittsburgh)
  • Bridget J. Crawford (Pace)
  • Robert T. Danforth (Washington & Lee)
  • Frances R. Hill (Miami)
  • Mitchell Kane (NYU)
  • Benjamin M. Leff (American)
  • Francine J. Lipman (UNLV)
  • Mary Leto Pareja (New Mexico)
  • Tanina Rostain (Georgetown)
  • Ann F. Thomas (NYLS)

Press and blogosphere coverage:

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2017/01/tax-profs-join-over-1300-law-profs-in-opposing-jeff-sessions-for-attorney-general.html

Legal Education, Tax | Permalink

Comments

So a bunch of liberal professors oppose a conservative nominee? Shocker...

The academy has become so monolithically liberal that its opinion on matters such as these is absolutely worthless. The vast majority of their complaints are merely policy differences.

Posted by: todd | Jan 5, 2017 10:27:48 AM

Do you people appreciate how your whinging sounds to ordinary Americans?

I'd like to point out that claiming that Session's remarks are "racially insensitive" or "could be interpreted as racist" is a sneaky way of saying "we know he isn't racist, but we're not afraid to call someone racist if it advances our political views."

This is the essence of what voters rejected in November. Having failed to shame the voters into embracing your views at the ballot box then, why do you think this approach will succeed now?

Posted by: Jim W | Jan 5, 2017 10:55:44 AM

Liberal "heads" are exploding! It's happening! It's happening!

Please do more anti-Trump celebrity videos! Those are hilarious! I love it when 5 different people repeat the same word. It really sinks in then!

Posted by: Anon | Jan 5, 2017 1:46:17 PM

Your letter is absolutely worthless. No one cares about your hand wringing about something from 30 years ago. Your opinions that you see nothing to suggest he has changed in 30 years falls on deaf ears. How many of you actually know the man? What a waste of time and energy.

Posted by: Cheyanna Jaffke | Jan 5, 2017 4:11:36 PM

Paul, I am mystified by your comments policy. Law professors sign a letter to protest not a "conservative" nominee for Attorney General but a reactionary buffoon from an ass-backwards state, who was previously rejected for a federal judgeship.

You then post comments from various pathetic and resentful people with a complex about law professors. What is the point? Why not just express your own view? The legal academy in the US is far to the right of the legal academy anywhere else in the Western capitalist democracies. Even so, the American legal academy is not insane or stupid enough to support Trump and comical choices like Jeffrey Sessions as Attorney General.

Seriously, your readers need to grow up, or at least learn a bit more about the big world out there.

Posted by: Brian | Jan 5, 2017 6:00:44 PM

Brian: If the only objection to Sessions were that he is a comical choice, I would not be quite so worried.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Jan 6, 2017 6:18:43 AM

Brian – regrettably, Paul has no discernable “comments policy,” as far as I can tell, unless he blocks the really venomous comments that we never see. I used to enjoy reading the comments here. Not so much anymore. And excepting Ms. Jafke, for example, so many people hide their identities, which seems to further embolden them. A little respect would go a long way.

Posted by: John Novack | Jan 6, 2017 7:50:21 AM

Comment from a Brian: "a reactionary buffoon from an ass-backwards state."

Ah, we see here why, despite a news media that threw away what little credibility it had left and Hillary outspending Trump two to one, the Democrats still lost. Add his "ass-backward state" to Obama's "bitter, clinging" remarks, spoken of people who hunt and go to church, and Hillary's "deplorables" remark, made of at least a quarter the voting population, and Election 2016 is easily explained. People don't vote for candidates and party that regard them with contempt

One also wonders what Brian makes of Hillary's chronic lying and 'pay-to-play' corruption as Secretary of State. That's far worse than anything alleged of Sessions. And does he really think the key factor in those leaked DNC emails was that they might have come from Russia? What really mattered to voters—for both Sanders and Trump—was what it revealed about the inner workings of the Democratic party.

And keep in mind that the Sessions he denounces as a "reactionary buffoon" destroyed the Klan in Alabama. That's a greater accomplishment that 999,999 out of every million liberals can claim. And what's been the chief issue for many liberals. Could it be the Black Lives Matter movement? Probably. The removal of the heavy hand on police on inner cities has had precisely the impact many predicted. In Chicago the murder rate, disproportionately black-on-black, rose over 50% in 2016. Could it be that liberals not only anticipated that, but delighted in the thought of fewer blacks. Indeed, I suspect that if you added up the increase in black-on-black murders in cities across the country last year, it just might be more that the 2,000 or so that the Klan killed during its entire history. Who's killed more blacks?

One additional remark, which might be classified as an appeal to common sense. Ponder for a moment that this lawyer regards the law-abiding people of Alabama as living in "an ass-backwards" state and probably agrees with those similar assessments of ordinary Americans by Obama and Hillary. Now, take that one further step in thought. If liberals regard those people that negatively, imagine for a moment what they must really think of our crime-riddled, drug-addled inner cities and their black residents.

Yes, if they want to deny to bitter clingers and deplorables their right to vote their convictions, how must these liberals really regard our black underclass? is genocide too strong a word. In Roe v. Wade, Blackmun did not mince words. It opens mentioning the "racial overtones" and "eugenics" that underlie abortion legalization. And never forget that the most visible champion of abortion legalization was Dr. Alan Guttmacher, who was not only head of Planned Parenthood-World Population, he was a former VP of the American Eugenics Association. Eugenists considered East European Jews and Italian Catholics unfit. I leave it to you to figure out how they regard the black poor.

Indeed, I challenge you to come up with any race-related liberal agenda that doesn't have as its core intention the reduction of our country's black population. Liberals who go ballistic that cops shoot blacks in a greater proportion than their part of the population (but not of violent crimes), seem at best indifferent to the much higher than white abortion rate of black babies. And what about school choice. Most liberals can locate close to good public schools or send their kids to private ones. Do they want black mothers to have the same choice about their child's schools as they have about that child's abortion. Not even close. And I've already mentioned those liberal supported efforts to raise black-on-black murder rates.

Indeed, what we really have with these bitter and clinging, deplorables, and ass-backwards remarks looks a lot like projection. Liberals are projecting their own fears of the black poor on to middle-class whites. They're trying to make what is clearly an economic movement to "make America great again" as if it reflected their own racist fears. Brian, whatever his last name is, seems ignorant of what historians call the Great Migration. Millions of those now out of work or doing poorly paid jobs in our Rust Belt are black people who migrated North for those once good jobs.

I could go on, but I think you get the point. The nastiest bigotry is this country is that liberals feel for the rest of us. That's now out in the open and nothing is going to put it back in the shadows again.

--Michael W. Perry, editor of The Pivot of Civilization in Historical Perspective (about the eugenic roots of Planned Parenthood)

Posted by: Michael W. Perry | Jan 6, 2017 8:55:10 AM

FWIW I don't support the President-elect, and I didn't vote for him. But even if I had, and convinced 2 million of my friends here in deep blue California to vote for him, it would've had zero practical effect on Election Day.

But stepping back from this petty criticism, the man was literally called a statutory rapist, a Russian agent, an ISIS supporter, "subhuman", Hitler reborn, and pure evil during the campaign, and not just by anonymous hacks and trolls, but by major journalists, magazines and newspapers, high-profile government officials, and even candidates for President from across the political spectrum. So if that's strategy employed, you better make 100% certain your candidate wins by any means necessary and your enemy loses the election. But since that didn't happen, and some very dubious legal and illegal attempts were made post-election to circumvent the electoral process, these criticisms of his staff appointments and nominations come across as toothless at best.

By way of analogy, it'd be like dropping a bomb on someone's house, and after realizing he survived unscathed, trying to impound his car. And failing that, proceeding to object to his choice of work attire...

Posted by: MM | Jan 6, 2017 1:46:31 PM

I confess I couldn't get all the way through Michael W. Perry's ramble. But to borrow a line from Gore Vidal: he is plainly too "stupid to warrant a response."

I share John Novack's sense about the comments here, alas.

Posted by: Brian | Jan 7, 2017 6:39:59 AM

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