Every Terrible Thing Jeff Sessions and the DOJ Have Done Since February

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October 18, 2017
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Photo by: Gage Skidmore

As United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions gears up to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee today, we thought it would be helpful to have a list of all the absolutely delightful things he and his department have done since he took the helm back in February.

Not only has Mr. Sessions directed his department to reverse course on many civil rights issues where the Department of Justice had previously been a leader, but he and his staff have also offensively attacked LGBTQ people, women, people of color, Muslims, immigrants and other marginalized communities across the country.

If nothing else is clear here, at least this one thing is: the current United States Department of "Justice" is going out of its way – over and over – to deny people civil rights.

February

  • Rescinded the Obama administration’s 2016 Title IX guidance detailing protections for transgender students under Title IX.

March

  • Appointed Steve Cook, a notoriously racist former federal prosecutor in support of lengthy prison sentences (even for nonviolent crimes), as associate deputy attorney general.
  • Abandoned its defense of the nondiscrimination provisions in the Affordable Care Act protecting transgender people from discrimination in healthcare.
  • Withdrew a motion for preliminary injunction against North Carolina’s anti-transgender House Bill 2, which had – until then – prevented the state from enforcing the law.
  • Cancelled a long-planned National Institute of Corrections broadcast on “Transgender Persons in Custody: The Legal Landscape.”
  • Announced review (and likely scaling back) of consent decrees designed to address systemic police violence.

April

  • Cancelled important quarterly conference calls with LGBTQ organizations.
  • Abandoned their lawsuit against North Carolina’s discriminatory anti-LGBTQ House Bill 2.

May

  • Ordered federal prosecutors to pursue the toughest possible charges and sentences, even for nonviolent crimes, reigniting the racist “War on Drugs.”
  • Defended Donald Trump’s “Muslim Ban” in federal court.
  • Attacked and attempted to shut down the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP), a legal services and advocacy group that opposes Donald Trump’s “Muslim Ban.”

June

  • Asked the Supreme Court to let Donald Trump’s “Muslim Ban” take effect.
  • Advanced, with Jeff Sessions’ blessing, the nomination of Eric Dreiband, a lifelong opponent of civil rights, to head the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division.

July

  • Switched sides in a Texas voter ID challenge to join forces with Texas Attorney General and defend a racially discriminatory law.
  • Filed a brief at the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals arguing that the Civil Rights Act does not protect workers against discrimination based on sexual orientation.
  • Ordered a push to investigate and sue universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to "discriminate" against white applicants.

August

  • Supported voter suppression efforts in Ohio.
  • Continuously refused to release information about the decision to withdraw guidance detailing the protections transgender students have under Title IX, despite Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

September

  • Targeted 800,000 young people for deportation by announcing the rescission of DACA.
  • Argued against LGB employees at the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Filed a brief at the United States Supreme Court arguing for the constitutional right of businesses to discriminate against LGBT people.
  • Outlined plans to undermine due process for immigrants.

October

  • Reversed DOJ position that federal law protects transgender workers from discrimination.
  • Released the sweeping “License to Discriminate” guidance, outlining a pathway for discrimination against LGBT people, women and religious minorities.
  • Sought to dismiss the claims of transgender military service members against Donald Trump’s “Transgender Military Ban” by arguing that nothing bad had really happened to them (yet).