Yesterday afternoon, NAACP members staged a sit-in at the Mobile, Alabama offices of Senator Jeff Sessions to protest his nomination for Attorney General by President-elect Donald Trump. Late Tuesday evening, all six activists, including NAACP President and C.E.O. Cornell W. Brooks, were arrested. CNN has reported that they may be charged with criminal trespass in the second degree.
Brooks spoke with CNN's Wolf Blitzer during the protest on the organization's motives for the sit-in. "We are asking the senator to withdraw his name from consideration as Attorney General or for the President-elect, Donald Trump, to withdraw the nomination. The reason being is in the midst of rampant voter suppression, this nominee has failed to acknowledge the reality of voter suppression while pretending to be in the midst of voter fraud. We need at the helm of the Department of Justice someone who acknowledges the reality of voter suppression."
In 1986, President Ronald Reagan put forth Sessions as his nominee for a federal judge position. He was rejected by a Republican-controlled senate after it was alleged that Sessions had used racial epithets and called civil rights groups like the NAACP and the ACLU "un-American" and "communist-inspired."
A spokesperson for Sessions dismissed yesterday afternoon's protest in an emailed statement obtained by AL.com. "Many African-American leaders who've known him for decades attest to this and have welcomed his nomination to be the next attorney general. These false portrayals of Sen. Sessions will fail as tired, recycled, hyperbolic charges that have been thoroughly rebuked and discredited,"
The sit-in may have ended, the NAACP does not appear to be backing down. "While we are happy to be out of jail, we are even more heartened and determined to #stopsessions. #restorevra," Brooks tweeted soon after his release. According to NPR, 1,200 law school professors have signed a letter petitioning the Senate to reject Session's nomination.
The NAACP was not immediately available for comment.