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Hoosier law students, professors oppose Sessions nomination

January 5, 2017

Indiana law school professors are joining an open letter opposing the nomination of Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General.

The letter is addressed to Senate Judiciary Committee chair Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican, and ranking member Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat. To date, it has been signed by 1330 faculty members from 177 different law schools in 49 states.  Sessions was an early cabinet pick by president-elect Donald Trump.

Pointing to his record, the faculty members assert that the Alabama Republican is an unacceptable choice to lead the U.S. Department of Justice. They do not believe he will fairly enforce the law and promote justice and equality.

“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,” the professors wrote. “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.”

They urge the judiciary committee to reject Sessions’ nomination.

Hoosier law professors who have signed the letter thus far are:
•    Derrick Howard, Susan Stuart, and D.A. Jeremy Telman from Valparaiso Law School;
•    Cynthia Reichard, Steve Sanders, James Alexander Tanford, Carwina Weng, Pamela Foohey, and H. Timothy Lovelace Jr. from Indiana University Maurer School of Law; and
•    Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law’s James D. Dimitri, Fran Quigley and Florence Wagman Roisman.

More than a thousand law students posted an open letter to Trump Dec. 22 on the American Constitutional Society for Law and Policy's website expressing similar concerns about Sessions and asked the president-elect to withdraw his nomination as attorney general of the United States.

Like the law professors, the students pointed to the Sessions’ record of opposing laws that advanced such areas as civil rights, environmental protections and voting rights. They also highlight Sessions’ racist attitude and comments that were revealed during his failed nomination for a federal judgeship in 1986.   

“As hate crimes against minorities continue to rise, we need a nominee for Attorney General who is a champion of civil rights and civil liberties,” the students wrote. “The ideal candidate should have a long standing commitment to the principles of fairness and equal justice. Senator Sessions is not that candidate.”

A total of 1,060 students from 98 law schools signed the letter. The Hoosier law students who signed were:
•    Andrew Meek of Indiana University Maurer School of Law, and
•    Kayla Clark, Arianna Cook-Thajudeen and Benjamin Tyler of Notre Dame Law School.

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