After a day of delays, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) has been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee in a vote of 11-9 to be the next attorney general. Following the party line vote, he will go to the Senate floor for confirmation.
The AG position has been a place of controversy this week after acting Attorney General Sally Yates told the Department of Justice not to defend the president’s executive order on immigration. As a result, she was fired.
Sessions’ confirmation hearings have been laced with unfounded charges of racism. Reps. John Lewis and Cedric Richmond were just two congressmen to suggest Sessions’ lackluster civil rights record disqualifies him from serving. New Jersey's Cory Booker even made history by becoming the first senator to testify against one of his colleagues with a cabinet position at stake.
The Senate panel had a chance to share some last words about Sessions before the vote on Tuesday. Here are two quotes from one Republican senator and one Democratic senator that about sums up the debate.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA): Sessions is “a man of integrity and a man of his word.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), concerned that Sessions will happily enforce Trump’s EO on immigration: “Will he carry out actions that may be unconstitutional?”
He “is the intellectual godfather of the president’s policies,” she said.
Other Democrats were concerned that Sessions is too close to the president. Their relationship, they worried, is in violation of the DOJ’s recusal standards.
Nevertheless, the Alabama senator has advanced to the Senate.