Read Coretta Scott King’s 1986 letter opposing Jeff Sessions’s federal nomination

January 12, 2017 GMT

This week, Alabama senator Jeff Sessions is going through confirmation hearings on his nomination by President-elect Donald Trump to be United States Attorney General.

The nomination has sparked a lot of concern, especially from the African-American community. Leaders speaking out have included the NAACP, Sen. Cory Booker, and Rep. John Lewis, who both spoke at the hearings on Wednesday.

However, concern about Session’s posture to lead was echoed before when Sessions was nominated for federal judge in 1986. On March 19, 1986, Coretta Scott King, the widow of Civil Right Leaders leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., wrote a letter expressing her concern and opposition to Sessions’ nomination.

On Tuesday, the Washington Post obtained the letter, which was previously unavailable publicly.

In the letter, King talks about how civil rights leaders including her husband have fought valiantly for the right to vote and that Sessions lacks the temperament, fairness, and judgment to be a federal judge.


“Civil right leaders, including my husband and Albert Turner, have fought long and hard to achieve free and unfettered access to the ballot box,” King said.

She continued saying, “Mr. Sessions has used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens in the district he now seeks to serve as a federal judge. This cannot simply be allowed to happen. Mr. Sessions’ conduct as U.S. Attorney, from his politically-motivated voting fraud prosecutions to his indifference toward criminal violations of civil rights laws, indicates that he lacks the temperament, fairness, and judgment to be a federal judge.”

You can read King’s entire letter here: