This column by ACRU Policy Board member J. Christian Adams was published December 19, 2016 by PJ Media.
When hearings for attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions start next month, prepare for a trip back in time to 1986. Three decades ago, his nomination for a seat on the federal bench was wrecked because Jeff Sessions fought voter fraud as a United States attorney.
The same group of far-left activists are again opposing Jeff Sessions because Jeff Sessions will fight voter fraud as attorney general.
The activists opposing Sessions also oppose any effort to minimize criminal behavior in American elections. Never mind that there are over four million invalid voter registrations. Never mind that we have a Justice Department that deliberately stopped enforcing laws to prevent this illegal bloating of voter rolls.
Opposing steps to stop criminal behavior in elections has tragically become the new “civil rights” agenda. It is the agenda of the Sessions opponents.
If the election of Donald Trump demonstrated anything, it showed that mainstream Americans wanted to restore treasured American institutions like the rule of law, and the tradition of collective disdain toward the criminal and lawless.
But so-called civil rights groups are slow to catch on. That’s why the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights has taken the lead in fighting against Sessions.
Don’t be fooled by their name and pedigree. Groups like the Leadership Conference and the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP are no longer about civil rights. They are about enforcing an orthodoxy of identity politics. Identity politics helps Democrats win elections. The only way Hillary had a hope to win the White House was to ride intense racial polarization among black and Hispanic voters.
The groups opposing Jeff Sessions now exist to divide Americans along the skin-color lines — precisely the same thing Martin Luther King, Jr. and Frederick Douglass fought. It’s the same evil the soldiers who died in Selma and on the dunes of Fort Wagner fought.
The opponents of Jeff Sessions are busy transforming what “civil rights” means. Genuine equality of opportunity is out of style. That’s so 1965. They want a Justice Department chasing “unconscious bias” and fighting disparate racial impacts. They certainly don’t want the Justice Department doing anything about the lawlessness and illegal voting affecting American elections.
They also want to cash out.
Leading the opposition to Jeff Sessions is Nancy Zirkin from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. The activists at the Leadership Conference live large on the struggle: the most recent IRS form 990s from this organization shows that President Wade Henderson raked in $360,080 in compensation. But that’s just the start. Seven other staffers — including chief Sessions foe Zirkin — enjoyed average compensation packages from this “charity” opposing Sessions of $222,576.
The civil rights industry has become very lucrative. In 1961, Freedom Rider volunteers boarded buses to oppose the constitutionally and morally offensive system of racial segregation. Today, Nancy Zirkin and her allies seek to undo their noble work by again dividing Americans based on skin color — for a quarter million dollars a year.
But it’s not just Zirkin’s organization opposing Sessions. A rogue’s gallery of fringe and Soros-funded groups are astroturfing Sessions’ opposition. Crackpot efforts like “Preventing Violations and Advancing Rights in Communities Affected by Extractive Industries” by the “Global Justice Clinic” are in the anti-Sessions game. So is “Demand Progress” — an organization with a clenched red fist as a logo.
At least they’re honest.
Just as in 1986, expect discredited Justice Department Civil Rights Division lawyers to take the stand against Jeff Sessions.
Back then, Gerry Hebert and Paul Hancock spoke against Sessions. They claimed he said something racially insensitive when they worked together on a case when Sessions was U.S. attorney.
Herbert has since been admonished by a federal court for exaggerating claims of intentional racial discrimination in a Justice Department lawsuit he brought.
Both Hancock and Hebert also had to retract portions of their testimony in the 1986 Session nomination because it was found to be inaccurate. Hebert has fought against efforts to prevent voter fraud, and his opposition to Sessions is part of that continuing game.
Also writing frightening accounts of a Department of Justice under Jeff Sessions is Sam Bagenstos. His fact-optional piece at the far left American Prospect shivers that Sessions will actually enforce federal laws as Congress passed them — such as trimming ineligible voters from voter rolls. (Bagenstos also mentions my “agenda to subvert the historic work of the division,” when in reality, during my time at the DOJ, my “agenda” saw me personally bring more Section 2 and minority-language cases than the entire Obama Justice Department did in eight years.)
Bagenstos, naturally, is and always has been a professor except for temporary stints in government. Bagenstos once led opposition at DOJ to the release of the Amazon Kindle because it couldn’t be used by the blind.
As Hans von Spakovsky wrote at National Review, Bagenstos is responsible for this laugher:
Bagenstos recently appeared in federal court in New York, arguing against a motion to dismiss one of the Division’s lawsuits. The Division’s complaint was so badly written under Bagenstos’s supervision that the judge at one point compared the government’s pleading to that of a pro se litigant, which is as close as a federal judge can come to calling you incompetent.
It sounds like he’s right where he belongs — in the academy.
The Sessions hearings will give America a chance to see what has become of the civil rights movement. They’ll witness how they attack good people from well-paid perches inside a swarm of 501(c)(3) groups, groups that probably never suffered IRS scrutiny in the last eight years. They’ll see that when good men like Jeff Sessions use the law to fight lawlessness, it invites the wrath of a once-noble movement.