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Ted Kennedy called for Jeff Sessions’s rejection — in 1986

Senator Edward M. Kennedy.Pat Greenhouse/Globe staff/file 2005/Boston Globe

Three decades before Senator Elizabeth Warren was calling for the rejection of Senator Jeff Sessions for a federal post, the late Senator Ted Kennedy was doing the same.

In 1986, when Sessions was under consideration by the Senate for a federal judgeship, Kennedy made a fiery statement slamming Sessions’ ultimately unsuccessful nomination.

The controversy over Sessions, now President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for US attorney general, centered then around remarks Sessions allegedly made to an African American former assistant US attorney. Thomas Figures alleged that in the 1980s Sessions called him “boy” and warned him to be careful about what he says to “white folks.” Sessions has denied the claim.


In his opening statement during the confirmation hearings, Kennedy called Sessions “a throwback to a shameful era.”

Sessions eventually withdrew his name from consideration after his bid was rejected by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

See a transcript of Kennedy’s full opening statement regarding Senator Jeff Sessions: