Jeff Sessions, the new U.S. attorney general under President Donald Trump, is no stranger to controversy.
Sessions, who served as a U.S. senator for Alabama until the Senate confirmed him by a vote of 52-47, was confirmed on the first day of Black History Month. It’s a point of irony for some people who questioned his ability to run the U.S. Justice Department fairly and without bias after comments supporting the KKK, except for the hate group’s use of marijuana.
In fact, his reportedly racist comments stopped him from being appointed as a federal judge in 1986.
Teen Vogue recently talked with Shan Wu, a former federal prosecutor who worked for the same agency that Sessions is now overseeing, about the heavy-duty responsibilities that America’s newest attorney general is facing.
Wu, who also served as an adviser to former Attorney General Janet Reno, explained that the U.S. Justice Department has more than 112,000 employees – among those over 10,000 attorneys.
“As attorney general, Senator Sessions will consult closely with the president about what policy areas the president’s administration will focus on, as well as be responsible for advising the president on the legality of any particular actions,” Wu said.
Those policies could include deportation of undocumented immigrants and “registration requirements directed at American citizens who are of the Muslim faith,” Wu added.
Teen Vogue noted that Sessions has consistently fought immigration bills that would increase rights for undocumented immigrants or help them become citizens. He also opposed giving VISAs to foreigners who would come to America and work in STEM fields.
Sessions will also be helping to vet potential Supreme Court nominees and other judicial appointments, like federal judges.
Sessions could prove to be a very influential man in Trump’s presidency, Wu noted, but warned that Sessions’ “personal views should not be shaping U.S. policy.”
As head of the Justice Department, Sessions will also be heading important criminal and civil matters, and he will have a lot of discretion as to what kinds of cases his office pursues.
Previous attorney generals have focused on expanding civil rights and fighting state laws that target the LGBT community, but under President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, we could see an about-face.
“LGBTQ rights, including the issue arising under transgender access to bathroom facilities, will likely come under scrutiny,” Wu said. “The recent greater scrutiny of police shooting civilians may also become an issue.”
America is in a wait-and-see mode with many of Trump’s cabinet picks, Sessions included.
Read more on Attorney Jeff Sessions here.
Click here to contact Shan Wu.