The Atlantic

The Cynical Selling of Jeff Sessions as a Civil-Rights Champion

The new attorney general had strong conservative credentials, but no record as a civil-rights advocate. So his defenders invented one.
Source: Yuri Gripas / Reuters

Having picked Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions for attorney general, the Trump administration might have made the case for conservative leadership at the Justice Department. Instead, it chose to portray Sessions as a stalwart defender of civil rights.

This was largely a fiction, one that was as thinly supported as it was ardently asserted by the Trump administration and its allies, as they sought to deflect the 30-year-old allegations of racism that had derailed Sessions’ nomination to the federal bench in 1986. Sessions’s defenders might have simply argued that he was unfairly maligned in 1986 and left it at that. Instead, to

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic6 min readPolitics
Sanders And Warren Are Heading For A Stand-off
The two senators from a similar place on the left of the party are not working out any deal that would avoid a race that includes them both.
The Atlantic8 min read
How Kelly Rowland Fell in Love With Color
The singer turned style icon talks natural beauty, bold fashion, and learning to embrace her hue in a world that doesn’t affirm brown-skinned girls.
The Atlantic2 min read
The Family Weekly: ‘Uber for Kids’ and the Future of How Children Get Around
Plus: fighting the loneliness epidemic in schools, talking to kids about race, and being an accomplice to an affair