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The NAACP Opposes Sessions for AG–After Once Giving Him an Award for ‘Excellence’

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.), nominee to be attorney general / AP
• February 8, 2017 4:06 pm

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The NAACP has vigorously opposed Donald Trump's nominee for attorney general, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.). Seven years earlier, however, the civil rights organization awarded Sessions its "Governmental Award of Excellence" for his work in the Senate.

The award was discovered when an aide was cleaning out Sessions' office in Mobile, Ala. to prepare for his transition to the Justice Department, Politico reported Tuesday.

Sessions revealed that he received the award in a questionnaire supplement sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a member of the Judiciary Committee who supports Sessions for attorney general, noted the NAACP's change in attitude on Twitter.

"Apparently [NAACP President Cornell Brooks] doesn't stay in contact with the NAACP chapter in Alabama," Graham said Tuesday on the Senate floor. "Most of the things said about Jeff Sessions and the way he acted as a senator could be said about almost all of us on this side who consider themselves conservative."

Graham accused the NAACP last month of being anti-Republican during a heated confrontation with Brooks, who was opposing Sessions' nomination during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, the Blaze noted.

Brooks highlighted in his testimony against Sessions that the Alabama lawmaker had an 11 percent rating on the NAACP's legislative report card. Graham, who had a 25 percent rating, criticized Brooks for giving nearly perfect scores to Democrats.

"Isn't it kind of odd that one party gets 100 percent and nobody else does very well on our side?" Graham asked. "I think it's really odd. I think it–well, it speaks for itself."

Brooks and members of other interest groups held a sit-in last month outside the office of Senate Judiciary Committee chair Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), pleading their case for him to block Sessions from becoming the next attorney general, USA Today reported at the time.

"It is the ultimate irony that we are going to have to break the law in order to ensure that we have an attorney general who will enforce the law … most assuredly, the Voting Rights Act," Brooks said.

The NAACP and Democrats have argued that Sessions' record on race should prevent him from heading the Justice Department. When Sessions was U.S. attorney for Alabama in 1986, he was denied a federal judgeship. Critics accused him of racial discrimination, a charge both he and Republicans have categorically denied.

Justice Department lawyer J. Gerald Herbert testified in 1986 that Sessions had described the NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union as "un-American" and "Communist-inspired," the Blaze noted, citing a Washington Post report.

Sessions has denied those accusations.

"This caricature of me from 1986 was not correct," Sessions said at his confirmation hearing last month.

The Senate is expected to vote on Sessions' nomination on Wednesday.

Published under: Jeff Sessions