Speed Reads

senate confirmations

Watch civil rights legend John Lewis' moving testimony against Jeff Sessions

Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), an icon of the civil rights movement, delivered a moving testimony against Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) on Wednesday at his Senate confirmation hearing for the role of attorney general. In his opening remarks, Lewis recalled growing up in rural Alabama during a time when he couldn't legally drink from the same drinking fountains or walk on the same side of the street as white Americans.

"We can pretend that the law is blind, we can pretend that it is even-handed, but if we are honest with ourselves, we know that we are called upon daily by the people we represent to help them deal with unfairness in how the law is written and enforced," Lewis said. "Those who are committed to equal justice in our society wonder whether Sen. Sessions' calls for law and order would mean today what it meant in Alabama when I was coming up back then."

Lewis' testimony came late in Sessions' hearing, a point that was not lost on Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), who spoke next. "To have a senator [Cory Booker], a House member, and a living civil rights legend testify at the end of all of this is the equivalent of being made to go to the back of the bus," he said.