- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Attorney General Jeff Sessions praised Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, saying it still influences the Department of Justice nearly 50 years after his assassination.

Mr. Sessions said that without the slain civil rights leader, the United States would not have the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and Fair Housing Act of 1968.

“Dr. King was never elected to office or held any government title,” Mr. Sessions said. “But he helped transform our legal system by inspiring some of the transformative laws that we in this building enforce today.”

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Recalling his own childhood in rural Alabama, Mr. Sessions said he witnessed discrimination nearly every day while attending an all-white, segregated school.

“I can remember riding an all-white school bus and passing an all-black school bus,” he said. “Just one look at the bus was enough to know that separate was not equal.”

The attorney general’s remarks came Tuesday morning at the Justice Department’s annual commemorative program to honor King’s contribution to the cause of justice. FBI Director Christoper Wray, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and John Gore, the acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, were among the attendees.

Larry D. Thompson, a former deputy attorney general during the George W. Bush administration, was the keynote speaker. Mr. Thompson helped lead the Justice Department after the Sept. 11 attacks and led the agency’s Corporate Fraud Task Force, which was formed in the wake of the Enron case. He is currently works for Volkswagen.

During his remarks, Mr. Thompson spoke about the value of workplace diversity. He also praised the work of DOJ officials to fight discrimination and support civil rights.

“Your work goes well beyond the task at hand,” he said.

Mr. Sessions called upon the prosecutors and attorneys attending the event to honor Mr. King by renewing their dedication to justice.

“Whatever you do here at this department, let us all renew our dedication to promoting justice — whether that’s by protecting law-abiding people from crime or defending their rights in court,” he said.

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