NAACP President Arrested Protesting Sessions' Nomination

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

NAACP president Cornell William Brooks was arrested Tuesday night after staging a sit-in protest at the Mobile, Alabama, office of Republican senator Jeff Sessions, who is Donald Trump's Attorney General nominee. Alabama NAACP president Bernard Simelton and other NAACP members were also arrested.

In an interview with ABC News Tuesday, Brooks said that they were removed from Senator Sessions' Mobile congressional office after protesting for over six hours. They were arrested and taken to jail, and currently have a court date set for January 30.

"We were clear today: We want others to participate in acts of civil disobedience," Brooks said. "This is a matter of ongoing opposition to someone with a clear, anti-civil rights record in Senator Session."

Brooks cited Sessions' silence on numerous laws that he believes are targeted efforts to restrict the voting rights of minority communities in states like Alabama, North Carolina and throughout the South.

"You have a nominee for Attorney General who has demonstrated a disregard for voter suppression," Brooks said. "He supports the myth of voter fraud. That is unacceptable."

The arrests come as a group of 1,140 faculty members from law schools around the country has penned a letter opposing Donald Trump's pick for attorney general, Sen. Jeff Sessions, citing questions that have been raised about his civil rights record.

The letter, addressed to Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. -- the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee respectively -- took aim at controversy surrounding Sessions' 1986 confirmation hearing for a federal judgeship.

"In 1986, the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee, in a bipartisan vote, rejected President Ronald Reagan's nomination of then-U.S. Attorney Sessions for a federal judgeship, due to statements Sessions had made that reflected prejudice against African Americans," the letter says. "Nothing in Senator Sessions' public life since 1986 has convinced us that he is a different man than the 39-year-old attorney who was deemed too racially insensitive to be a federal district court judge."

Sessions said under oath during the hearing that the allegations against him were false and that he was not biased.

The note also says some of the lawyers, from 171 law schools, have issues with Sessions' policy positions, including his support for a wall along the southern border with Mexico, support for what they call "regressive drug policies" and opposition to efforts to block legal protections for the LGBT community.

"All of us believe it is unacceptable for someone with Senator Sessions' record to lead the Department of Justice," the letter states.

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