- Carlo Allegri/Reuters
Coretta Scott King – the widow of civil-rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.- implored Congress to block Jeff Sessions’ 1986 nomination for federal judge.
King’s emotional letter condemned Sessions, saying his federal appointment would “irreparably damage the work” of Martin Luther King, Jr., who was assassinated in 1968 after leading a years-long movement for equal rights for African Americans.
“The irony of Mr. Sessions’ nomination is that, if confirmed, he will be given a life tenure for doing with a federal prosecution what the local sheriffs accomplished twenty years ago with clubs and cattle prods,” King wrote.
Her letter, which was previously unreleased and not entered into the Congressional record, emerged as Sessions faces new opposition in 2016, with his nomination as President-elect Donald Trump’s attorney general.
King’s letter also accused Sessions of questionable behavior while prosecuting voter-fraud cases in Alabama that she stated “raises serious questions about his commitment to the protection of the voting rights of all American citizens.”
Sessions’ nomination that year was ultimately rejected by the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee because of racially charged comments attributed to Sessions, which he denied. His rejection was only the second time in nearly 50 years the committee denied a judicial nomination, according to an estimation published by CNN.