WASHINGTON ― Gold Star father /www.huffingtonpost.com/news/Khizr-Khan/"}}">Khizr Khan urged the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday to vote against the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) to be attorney general.
The father of Capt. Humayun S.M. Khan, an American soldier and Muslim who was killed in the Iraq War while saving the lives of several members of his unit, rose to national prominence last year at the Democratic National Convention. Appearing on stage alongside his wife, Khizr Khan held up a small copy of the U.S. Constitution and called on Trump to respect the values enshrined within it.
Khan, a lawyer, laid out his case against Sessions in a letter he sent to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday. Sessions’ nomination for a federal judgeship failed in the same Senate committee in 1986 over allegations that he made racist statements.
“Thirty years ago, a bipartisan group of senators rejected Mr. Sessions’ nomination to be a federal judge. His record since then does not give us any reason to believe that those senators were in error,” Khan wrote.
The “most minimal standard for leading the Department of Justice must be a demonstrated commitment to pursuing justice for all Americans,” Khan argued. “Mr. Sessions fails to meet that standard.”
He went on to list several objections to Sessions, including the senator’s opposition to the full Voting Rights Act, his comments in support of President-elect Donald Trump’s proposed Muslim ban and his criticisms of groups like the NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Khan, who is Pakistani-American, was particularly alarmed that the Justice Department could be “led by someone who has cultivated close relationships with organizations that promote racial and religious divisiveness and hostility toward immigrants” ― a possible reference to Sessions’ ties to Breitbart.com, a news site that traffics in white nationalist sentiment.
“My son, US Army Captain Humayun Khan, was a living rebuke to such bigotry,” Khan wrote. “He gave his life in service to this country, earning a Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for his heroism. He, like the people of every gender, ethnicity, and religion whose bodies rest in Arlington National Cemetery, which include FIVE Muslim Soldiers, swore an oath to protect the Constitution.”
Sessions could face a tough confirmation hearing. Democrats are gearing up to grill the Alabama senator over his controversial immigration stance and views on racial issues during that hearing, which begins Tuesday. According to Politico, Democratic senators are pushing to have Congressional Black Caucus members testify, including Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a civil rights icon.
Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), a former chairman of the Judiciary Committee, also voiced his opposition to Sessions’ nomination in a Boston Globe op-ed published Monday. His public disapproval is especially notable given that he still serves on that committee, alongside Sessions.
“Sessions has repeatedly stood in the way of efforts to promote and protect Americans’ civil rights,” Leahy wrote.