How To Oppose Jeff Sessions With Your Phone and Your Friends

feature image via Huffington Post.

Alrighty, queermos and allies, URGENT call to action. Let’s do our best to stop Jeff Sessions from being confirmed as Attorney General. We (Carrie and Ali) are going to put the most important, do-it-now stuff at the beginning, and then answer questions as to why after.

Call These Senators To Voice Your Concerns About Sessions

Who needs to call: people who live in Iowa, Utah, South Carolina, Texas, Nebraska, Arizona, Idaho, North Carolina and Louisiana. People from Utah and Texas, both your Senators are on this committee and you should call both of them.

Who to call:

Chuck Grassley (IA) – (202) 224-3744

Orrin Hatch (UT) – (202) 224-5251

Mike Lee (UT) – (202) 224-5444

Lindsey Graham (SC) – (202) 224-5972

John Cornyn (TX) – (202) 224-2934

EDIT: It looks like John Cornyn’s D.C. number has been disconnected. Here are the numbers for his regional offices:

Southeast Texas
Main: 713-572-3337
Fax: 713-572-3777

South Texas
Main: 956-423-0162
Fax: 956-423-0193

West Texas
Main: 806-472-7533
Fax: 806-472-7536

South Central Texas
Main: 210-224-7485
Fax: 210-224-8569

Central Texas
Main: 512-469-6034
Fax: 512-469-6020

East Texas
Main: 903-593-0902
Fax: 903-593-0920

North Texas
Main: 972-239-1310
Fax: 972-239-2110

Ted Cruz (TX) – (202) 224-5922

EDIT: It looks like Ted Cruz’s D.C. number has been disconnected. Here are the numbers for his regional offices:

Central Texas
(512) 916-5834

North Texas
(214) 599-8749

Southeast Texas
(713) 718-3057

South/Central Texas
(210) 340-2885

East Texas
(903) 593-5130

South Texas
(956) 686-7339

Ben Sasse (NE) – (202) 224-4224

Jeff Flake (AZ) – (202) 224-4521

Mike Crapo (ID) – (202) 224-6142

Thom Tillis (NC) – (202) 224-6342

John Kennedy (LA) – (202) 224-4623

What to say:

Hello, my name is [YOUR NAME] and I am a constituent from [CITY WHERE YOU LIVE]. My ZIP code is [YOUR ZIP CODE]. I don’t need a response. I oppose Jeff Sessions’ nomination for Attorney General and strongly encourage [SENATOR’S NAME] to vote against his confirmation. Senator Sessions has shown support for civil forfeiture laws, which challenge the idea of limited government and violate Americans’ rights to private property and due process. Our nation’s top law enforcement officer cannot hold such a Constitutionally questionable position. [SENATOR’S NAME] will lose my vote if [HE/SHE] votes to confirm Jeff Sessions. Thank you for your hard work answering the phones!

Please feel free to personalize your script and make it sound more natural to you, but please stick to this message. This is a message tailored to Senate Republicans, because that is who you are talking to. They’re going to ask your zip code or address to verify you’re a constituent, and that is normal.

What to do if you don’t live in those states: talk to EVERYONE you know who does and share this far and wide. Keep in mind your audience when you’re talking to people—if your friend or family member is progressive, go ahead and share this article, that’s fine. If they aren’t or you’re not sure, talk to them, text or email them instead and express that you’re sure you can both agree one one thing: that someone being confirmed to a cabinet position needs to be more qualified than this. Jeff Sessions has failed confirmation hearings in the past, and you only want the best of the best. Tell them to fight for the best cabinet, and that you’re confident that the Trump administration can find a better nominee.

When to take action: IMMEDIATELY. If you’re in any of the above-mentioned states, pick up the phone and call now. If you’re not, mobilize your network and share this information on social media. Likely the Judiciary Committee will vote on Sessions tomorrow, January 31st at 9:30 AM, so we have ONE DAY to make it happen.

Alrighty, now for some questions:

Why These Senators?

These Senators are on the Senate Judiciary Committee Committee, specifically the Republican ones. There are Democrats on this committee, too—you may have heard of Californians trying to get in touch with Dianne Feinstein using messages on pizzas and singing telegrams, for instance. You should call them too! Just because they’re Democrats doesn’t mean they share your values (for example, Schumer fell in line regarding Mike Pompeo and I near about fell out of my chair). But in order for this action to have a lobster’s chance in a seafood restaurant, it’s mostly the Republicans we need to convince.

Why Aren’t We All Calling These Senators?

Alas, unless we live in their states, we cannot! And we’d just be blocking the phone lines for people who can. So if you don’t live in one of the states listed, think about your network—who do you know who does? We don’t even need a million people to do it. When Senators start receiving calls like this, they talk to each other about it. That’s what we’re trying to have happen. So yes, your two friends in Texas or your mom who lives in South Carolina can really make a difference.

Why Are We Focused on the Attorney General

Ali: Jeff Sessions was too racist to be a judge, he’s CERTAINLY too racist to be our Attorney General. An Attorney General actually does have an impact on policy—remember that Attorneys General decide how, and sometimes if, to defend things in court. Given that this President seems to enjoy an insane executive order, and that his executive orders are racially motivated, and that the best way to challenge an executive order is in court, we cannot have Too-Racist-Jeff-Sessions as our Attorney General.

Carrie: The Attorney General sets the tone for what kinds of values we defend as a country. Let’s not forget that the repeal of DOMA and the ensuing snowball effect began, in large part, with Attorney General Eric Holder. Under his successor Loretta Lynch, the Justice Department sued North Carolina over the HB2 bathroom bill, which Lynch called “state-sponsored discrimination.” This person isn’t just a fancy attorney in a distant D.C. office; they can be either an ally or hindrance when it comes to progress and the defense of civil rights. They have the power to bring down the legal hammer of the federal government.

So who’s in that seat should be a top priority to every American, and definitely every one of us who is queer. The reasons Jeff Sessions shouldn’t hold this job are pretty much endless. Is he still going to get confirmed? Probably. But he is dangerous for people of color, queer folks, women, immigrants, disabled people, any combination of the above, and so many others. His appointment would endanger multiple people you know personally. We can’t let this one go without any fight at all. Plus, if you’ve got a Senator up for reelection in 2018, you need to remind them that you’re watching their vote (and then work like hell to get them out of office if they do give Sessions a pass).

Wait, Why Isn’t The Argument In Our Script Just That He’s a Horrible Racist?

If the current Senate Republicans care that someone is a horrible racist, they sure aren’t acting like it. We hate it, but we think we live in a world where we have to find some other, Republicany reason to oppose him. That sucks. That’s horrendous. But so is American politics right now, so HERE WE ARE.

Wait, I Thought We Weren’t Doing Sessions Because He’s Probably Gonna Get Confirmed Anyway?

You are correct, we did say that! But you know what, we’ve decided to try anyway. Because it’s the right thing to do. He’s awful and we have to throw our hearts at this because we are good people, not awful people. Plus Ali’s mom called her from South Carolina and said they’re running ads to tell people to call their Senators to vote FOR Sessions. So maybe he’s weaker than we think.

Ugh, Y’all, My Democratic Senator is On This Committee And I Feel So Useless!

You know what, we don’t entirely trust the Democrats to present a united front against Trump’s nominees anymore, so here you go, rock on with your bad self:

Dianne Feinstein (CA) – (202) 224-3841

Patrick Leahy (VT) – (202) 224-4242

Richard Durbin (IL) – (202) 224-2152

Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) – (202) 224-2921

Amy Klobuchar (MN) – (202) 224-3244

Al Franken (MN) – (202) 224-5641

Christopher Coons (DE) – (202) 224-5042

Richard Blumenthal (CT) – (202) 224-2823

Mazie Hirono (HI) – (202) 224-6361

And these ones, you can say “Vote no on Jeff Sessions, he was too racist to be a judge before, he’s too racist to be Attorney General now.” Because Democrats at least pretend to care about racism, if they don’t actually care about it.


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Staff Writer for Autostraddle, Part-time Faculty at The New School (teaching digital storytelling), Managing Editor for Scholar & Feminist Online at Barnard Center for Research On Women. Follow me on Twitter @AEOsworth or on Instagram, also @AEOsworth.

Ali has written 513 articles for us.

14 Comments

  1. To my fellow unfortunates living in South Carolina, Lindsey Graham pretty much fucking hates Trump with every fiber of his being and has criticized him constantly before and after the election, before and after the inauguration. We can tailor our script to that with something like, “I applaud Senator Graham for speaking out against Trump’s poorly-executed policies, and urge him to support his statements with action by voting against Sessions’ confirmation as Attorney General.”

  2. Since I haven’t officially changed my state residency yet, I just tried calling both Cruz and Cornyn and both of the phone numbers are disconnected. I’ve been searching for alternative numbers (and if I find them, I’ll post it) but if y’all find one first, an update to this list so we can keep trying to get in touch would be swell!

    • Alternate numbers: Cruz – 713-353-4330, Cronyn – 972-239-1310 Also, the Congressional Switchboard supposedly connects you with the right congress folk if you call the central number – 201-225-3121. Congressional voice mails were filled almost immediately after that number was announced, so I’m not sure if you will get through or not. Cruz and Cronyn are both playing mad avoidance games, refusing to make appointments and not clearing messages. We may have to start protesting at their homes.

  3. HI EVERYONE HI ALI THANKS FOR ALL OF YOUR GREAT WORK BUT I PROPOSE A MOTION:

    No more cover photos of these horrible men for these action articles?

    Last week like three cover photos were these horrible evil people and it honestly made it harder for me to deal with all of this and to read the article without my blood pressure going up.

    Like what if every article about the new administration had a photo of an activist, or a demonstration, or someone rad who is fighting against it instead?

    You guys are already doing a lot of this, which is rad, thank you.

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