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January 04, 2017

20 area educators sign letter opposing Jeff Sessions as attorney general

Twenty area law school faculty members are sending a clear message to federal officials – we reject President-elect Donald Trump's nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., as the nation's attorney general.

The faculty members from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Temple University Beasley School of Law and Villanova University School of Law, joined more than 1,200 others from 176 law schools across 49 different states in the letter addressed to the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary. 

It reads:

"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."

The letter also said that they believe that Sessions' "record" leaves him "unacceptable" to fill the position and that he "will not fairly enforce our nation's laws."

“Clearly, there are many, many law professors who are very uneasy with the prospect of Attorney General Sessions, and they are willing to take a public stand in opposition to his nomination," Robin Walker Sterling, from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law who also helped spearhead the letter, told the Washington Post.

Walker Sterling told the paper that more than 1,000 professors signed the letter within a 72-hour period.

The letter also has an accompanied GoFundMe campaign started Dec. 17 to help fund efforts to turn the message into a newspaper ad to be printed in hometown publications "of specific senators who are undecided about their vote regarding Sessions' nomination."

So far, the crowdfunding campaign has collected more than $14,000 of its $16,000 goal

Twelve professors from Temple have signed the letter, while seven from Penn joined and one from Villanova.

Sessions has been a senator for the southern state since 1997 and has also been a large part in the most recent presidential election, helping Trump in choosing Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his pick for vice president.

Trump's pick was controversial from the get-go. The Senate previously denied Sessions' nomination for a federal judgeship in 1986 after Thomas Figures, a lawyer who also served as the first black federal prosecutor in Alabama, accused him of racism.

Figures alleged that Sessions had called him "boy" and that members of the Ku Klux Klan were "OK, until he learned that they smoked marijuana," CNN reported.

His confirmation hearing is scheduled Jan. 10-11. Trump's inauguration will be held Jan. 20.

(H/T Daily Pennsylvanian)