Your editorial, “Booker challenges Sessions appointment as U.S. Attorney General” (Jan. 19) is inconsistent with the spirit of your Jan. 12 editorial “Finding our center.” The opinion expressed most recently demonstrated either a lack of research or naked partisan bias.
Sen. Cory Booker got the headline he craved by smearing Jeff Sessions. Yes, the same Booker who stated in a CNN interview “I have a lot of respect for Sen. Sessions. He and I have even worked together on giving out a medal of freedom to civil rights marchers, something I’ve felt honored and blessed to be able to do in partnership with him.”
You praise Booker for his decision to testify against Sessions “because the Alabama Republican has long been associated with racial intolerance.” Are you referring to the same Jeff Sessions, who as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, filed several cases to desegregate schools and prosecuted a KKK member for the abduction and murder of a black teenager?
Your editorial references 1986, when Sessions was nominated for a federal judgeship. Senate Democrats accused Sessions of being a racist through the testimony of two attorneys, J. Gerald Hebert and Thomas Figures. Hebert testified in a Senate hearing that Sessions blocked the filing of a civil rights voting case. He said that Sessions “instructed the FBI not to investigate because he thought it was a bad investigation and did not agree with it.”
Three days after his testimony, Hebert recanted after being confronted with documentary evidence that his testimony was false. Sessions was not the attorney who killed the investigation, but rather his predecessor, a Democratic appointee. Unrelated to the Hebert matter, Figures testified that Sessions used racially insensitive language toward him, a claim denied by Sessions. While he was a criminal defense attorney, Figures was indicted in 1992 by a federal grand jury, accused of offering a $50,000 bribe to a drug dealer not to testify against his client.
Unfortunately for Sessions, the accusations made by these lawyers, regardless of their veracity, were enough to scuttle his elevation to the federal bench.
The last paragraph of your Jan. 19 editorial stated, “No doubt Booker’s decision to testify had an element of partisan politics, hoping to increasing his stature as a possible Democratic candidate for president in four years.” You should have stopped there.