BILL MINOR: Sessions approaches new role with old baggage

Sessions’ AG appointment will no doubt be well received by states from the Confederacy, Mississippi included, as the chief enforcer of civil rights and voting rights laws. He has called the 1965 Voting Rights Act a “piece of intrusive legislation.” That law was gutted by a 2013 split decision of the Supreme Court in a case that originated in Alabama.

Significantly, Sessions voted against confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan who were appointed by President Obama. Both judges had opposed Chief Justice John Roberts opinion in the voting rights case.

The decision opened the way for some 12 states (Mississippi included) to enact strict Voter ID laws. In recent months three federal courts have ruled ID laws unconstitutional on discriminatory grounds in at least six states.

Sessions as the nation’s AG could be viewed as fulfillment of the dreams of this state’s segregationist governor, Ross Barnett. In the 1960 presidential election, Barnett advocated Dixiecrat states to nominate unpledged electors in lieu of Democratic electors. The idea was to use the electoral votes as a bargaining chip with the incoming president to appoint an attorney general who would not push school integration.

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