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Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA 2.0

United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions addressed guests at a sold-out event at the Union League of Philadelphia honoring him with the Lincoln Award. 

In his acceptance speech on Feb. 12, Sessions praised the character and action of Abraham Lincoln, stating that the best way to continue the former president’s legacy is by “upholding the rule of the law, day in and day out,” according to Philly Voice.

Sessions was the keynote speaker of the The Heritage Center of the Union League’s annual Lincoln Day celebration, and spoke in front of over 825 people.

Sessions brought up the fact that, since the League’s establishment in 1862, the award has never been given to someone with such an “archetypically Southern name” as Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, reported 

Past recipients of the Lincoln Award include former Republican governor of Pennsylvania Dick Thornbourgh, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Clarence Thomas — appointed by former president George H. W. Bush — and Associate Justice Samuel Alito — appointed by former president George W. Bush. 

Sessions is a staunch opponent of “sanctuary cities” across the nation, and Philadelphia has frequently found itself in resistance with the attorney general’s policies. 

In December 2017, the city sued Sessions after the Department of Justice withheld over $1.5 million in federal grant money due to Philadelphia’s noncompliance with federal immigration policies. 

In January 2017, seven Penn Law School professors signed a letter opposing then President-elect Donald Trump’s nomination of Sessions, citing his role in the "consistent promotion of the myth of voter-impersonation fraud,” as well his support for building a wall along the border of Mexico and his views on LGBTQ rights. 

Sessions did not shy away from sanctuary cities in his remarks at the Union League, claiming that he will not cease to promote federal law, in Philadelphia and beyond, WHYY reported. 

“We’ve seen jurisdictions around the country attempt to nullify federal immigration law under so-called sanctuary policies," he said in his speech. "One hears activists and officials talk of, amazingly, of nullification and secession. Let them come to the Union League or Gettysburg if they want a historical lesson on those subjects.” 

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