Alexander “Al” Green was born on September 1, 1947 in New Orleans, Louisiana. He enrolled at Florida A&M University in 1971, then attended the Tuskegee Institute of Technology, and in 1974 earned a JD from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University. After completing his legal studies, Green co-founded and co-managed the law firm of Green, Wilson, Dewberry & Fitch. From 1977-2004 he served as a Justice-of-the-Peace in Harris County, Texas. And in 2004 he was elected as a Democrat to represent Texas’s 9th District in the U.S. Congress, a seat he continues to hold. Green is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and served as president of the NAACP‘s Houston chapter for almost a decade.
During his years in public life, Green has been a strong supporter of the SEIU’s “Justice for Janitors” campaign, which demands higher wages and better benefits for custodial workers in a number of U.S. cities. He established the Houston Fair Share Program, to encourage corporations to engage in joint ventures with minority-owned businesses. And he joined Judge Armando Rodriguez in co-founding the Black and Brown Coalition, an initiative designed to unite Houston’s black and Hispanic communities in projects that focus on their common interests.
At a 2006 event, Green was one of several CBC members who met with Nation Of Islam (NOI) leader Louis Farrakhan. According to the Daily Caller, “Green gave Farrakhan a warm embrace and stood and talked with him for several minutes.”
In 2008, Green’s district director, a drug addict named Lucinda Daniels, threatened to go public with the story of a sexual affair which she and the congressman had been conducting — and also with claims that she had suffered a hostile work environment in Green’s office — unless Green agreed to pay her $1.8 million to keep quiet. Green, in turn, sued Daniels that September for “declaratory judgment relief relating to her workplace allegations and her quest for money.” Green eventually withdrew his lawsuit after Daniels signed a statement dropping her own allegations.
When the House of Representatives voted by a 345-75 margin to defund the notoriously corrupt community organization ACORN in September 2009, Green was one of the 75—all Democrats—who voted to continue funding the group.
In 2009-10, Green, lamenting that the U.S. had the most expensive “sickness care system” in the world, was a strong supporter of the healthcare reform initiative that ultimately resulted in the passage of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). In October 2013, he vowed to continue defending the legislation until the end of time: “If for some reason I should have an untimely demise, I want you to know that not only am I going to fight for the Affordable Care Act in this life, I will come back in the afterlife. I will haunt the Congress of the United States of America.”
In June 2012 Green criticized a Department of Homeland Security committee for holding a hearing on the “Radicalization of Muslim-Americans.” Charging that this forum unfairly singled out Muslims, he said: “Why don’t we go to the next step and ask, how is that a blue-eyed, blonde-haired, white female in the United States of America can become radicalized to the point of wanting to do harm to this country?… I do know what it feels like to look like a Muslim in the minds of some people and to be demeaned in a public venue…. I look forward to the day that we’ll [also] have that hearing that deals with the radicalization of Christians in America.”
A strong supporter of immigration reform measures that offer illegal aliens a path to U.S. citizenship, Green was one of approximately 200 demonstrators who were arrested for civil disobedience (blocking traffic) at an October 2013 pro-reform rally in downtown Washington, DC. Additional arrestees included Congressional Representatives Keith Ellison, Raul Grijalva, Luis Gutierrez, John Lewis, Charles Rangel, and Jan Schakowsky. Also taken into custody was Paul Booth, the leading assistant to AFSCME‘s president.
Green lauded President Barack Obama‘s November 2014 executive action which bypassed Congress in shielding from deportation at least 5 million illegal immigrants who were the parents of children with legal-resident or U.S.-citizen status. “President Obama has acted boldly within his legal authority to address problems within our immigration system and border security,” said Green.
That same month, Green was deeply angered by a Ferguson, Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict a white police officer who had shot and killed an 18-year-old black male named Michael Brown in an August 9th altercation. Despite the wide circulation of wholly fraudulent reports suggesting that Brown had been shot while his hands were raised in compliant surrender, the physical, forensic, and legitimate eyewitness evidence showed conclusively that the young man was in fact shot after he had assaulted the officer and tried to steal his gun. Unmoved by this evidence, Green, in an early December 2014 television appearance, lamented that the criminal-justice system routinely targeted African Americans with unfair “prosecution and persecution.” In a December 2nd speech from the House floor, he characterized the people involved in the massive anti-police-brutality protest movement that had grown out of Brown’s death as heroes who “refuse to accept injustice.” Indeed, Green likened them to the Pilgrims, the Boston Tea Party participants, and the activists who marched with Martin Luther King Jr. from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. And on December 23, 2015, Green and three fellow Democrats—Hakeem Jeffries, Yvette Clarke, and Sheila Jackson Lee—took to the House floor to display the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” gesture that had become emblematic of the aforementioned protest movement.
On December 6, 2017, Green, who had previously called for President Donald Trump’s removal from office on numerous occasions, introduced two articles of impeachment against Trump and forced a vote on those articles in the House of Representatives. Calling Trump “unfit” for office and accusing him of “high misdemeanors,” Green identified Trump’s supposed association with “White Nationalism, Neo-Nazism and Hate” as offenses worthy of impeachment. “Friends, whether we like it or not, we now have a bigot in the White House who incites hatred and hostility,” Green wrote in a letter. Green’s articles were voted down in the House by a margin of 364 to 58.
When the Daily Caller in February 2018 contacted Green and a number of his fellow Congressional Black Caucus members to ask if they would be willing to publicly denounce the notorious Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, Green was one of 20 who declined not only to denounce him, but also to issue any comment at all regarding his infamous anti-Semitic, anti-white rhetoric
During an August 23, 2018 appearance on Democracy Now!, Green said that President Trump could be impeached without having committed a crime: “I think it’s becoming increasingly clear that the president will have two options: One, he can resign from office, or, two, he can face impeachment. Impeachment is something that the Framers of the Constitution provided for a time such as this and a president such as Trump … [who] is alleged to have committed certain offenses that are onerous to the Constitution and that harm society.”
At a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation meeting in September 2018, Green revisited the theme of impeaching President Trump:
“The people who say, ‘What law did he break? What rule did he break?,’ they are perpetrating upon you a belief that is totally inaccurate. You decide that you are not going to be nice to suspects when you arrest them, you tell police, ‘You don’t have to be nice,’ … and ban children on the border of color, you produce a policy that separates them from their parents…. Now, this might be debatable, [but] for me, when I add all of this together, I find that I have a person who is placing his bigotry into policy that is harmful to our society, and for that, he ought to be impeached.”
In November 2018, Green and five fellow House Democrats — Steve Cohen, Luis Gutierrez, Adriano Espaillat, Marcia Fudge, and John Yarmuth — introduced a new set of impeachment articles against President Trump. The following month, Green went to the House floor and announced that he was also seeking to impeach Trump because of the president’s “bigotry,” which had caused him to commit “certain offenses that are onerous to the Constitution and that harm society.”
In March 2019, Green mischaracterized the Trump administration policy of placing the children of illegal aliens into a shelter while detaining their parents — a practice that was the only legal alternative to simply releasing everyone involved into the U.S. interior — as “a corrupt policy that separates babies from their mothers and places them in cages.” “There are those who believe that we already have too many people of color in this country,” he added. “And these, one of whom happens to be the president of the United States of America, would institute policies that will prevent people of color from coming to this country. White babies would not be treated the way these babies of color are being treated…. This is about color…. [W]e now have our quota of people of color.”
In the wake of two highly publicized instances in 2020 — one in Minneapolis and one in Atlanta — where white police officers had killed black men, Green called for the establishment of a “Department of Reconciliation” that would work to “eliminate racism and discrimination in this country.” Said Green:
“Black lives just don’t matter as much as white lives…. We have not reconciled our differences in this country. We are still in a state of amnesty at best, wherein we are still trying to determine what our status is in this country. We ought to, at some point, reconcile. This is why I have introduced legislation to have a department of reconciliation with a secretary of reconciliation that reports to the President of the United States whose job it will be to develop a strategy and implement the strategy to eliminate racism and discrimination in this country. We survived segregation, but we have not reconciled…. We need a war on racism and invidious discrimination in all of its forms. All of the invidious phobias, we have got to fight them…. We did the right thing when we brought articles of impeachment to the floor of the Congress for a vote. I am going to push this.”
On July 22, 2021, Green joined such notables as fellow Democratic Reps. Jamaal Bowman, Emanuel Cleaver, Troy Carter, Sheila Jackson Lee, and Hank Johnson in speaking at a demonstration in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building. They were demanding the elimination of the Senate filibuster so that Democrats in that chamber of Congress would be able to pass the radical For The People Act, which sought to ban Voter ID laws and other election safeguards, with just a simple majority. They also chanted: “Whose street? Our street. Whose house? Our house.”
For an overview of Green’s voting record on a wide array of key issues during his years in Congress, click here.
Further Reading: “Al Green” (Votesmart.org, Keywiki.org, BlackPast.org); “House Rejects Trump Impeachment Resolution after Dem Rep. Al Green Forces Vote” (Fox News, 12-6-2017); “Black Caucus Members Refuse to Denounce Hate Group Leader Louis Farrakhan” (Daily Caller, 2-7-2018); “Dem Rep Green: Trump Doesn’t Need to Commit a Crime to Be Impeached” (Breitbart.com, 8-24-2018); “Evidence of Crimes Irrelevant to Impeaching Trump, a Texas Democrat Insists” (Daily Signal, 9-13-2018); “Dems Introduce Articles of Impeachment Against Trump” (Daily Caller, 11-15-2017); “Al Green Hints He’ll Move to Impeach Trump for ‘Bigotry’” (by Tony Lee, 12-12-2018); “Al Green: Trump Believes There Are ‘Too Many People of Color’ in America” (by Tony Lee, 3-7-2019).