The Nomination of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III
- Jan 13, 2017
Justice is blind. Will it be colorblind?
Senator Jeff Sessions will likely become the next Attorney General of the United States. His confirmation hearing is under way as of this Tuesday. Here’s what you should know.
Senator Sessions was an early supporter of Trump’s campaign
The relationship between Senator Sessions and Trump actually goes back to 2005, when Sessions invited Trump to the Senate to testify about a proposed $1.2 billion renovation of the U.N.’s Manhattan headquarters. Trump claimed he could do the job for a billion dollars less. More recently, Sessions became Trump’s first supporter in the Senate. Among other things, early on, Sessions defended Trump’s extra-marital affairs and divorces.
Sessions distanced himself from some of Trump’s wilder claims
It’s hard to tell what Trump stands for because he’s flip-flopped on many of his claims, but senators questioned Sessions on a slew of Trump’s wilder claims. Among other things, Senator Sessions has rejected waterboarding, calling it “absolutely illegal.” He has also rejected an outright ban on immigration from Muslim countries, though he is in favor of stricter background checks. And while not outright endorsing the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Vladimir Putin orchestrated the hacking of the DNC, Sessions said that he has no reason to doubt it is true.
In a more colorful moment, Sessions agreed that grabbing women by their genitals without consent would amount to sexual assault.
Session’s nomination is controversial (to say the least)
While law professors are certainly very insular and left-leaning, many have written to denounce Sessions’ nomination. About 1,100 law professors signed a letter calling Sessions’ nomination “unacceptable.” In contrast, a group of about 100 former U.S. Attorneys, serving under both Republican and Democratic presidents, wrote to support Sessions’ nomination, citing his support for Eric Holder’s nomination as evidence of his openness to different views.
An interesting read comes from libertarian law professor and frequent blogger, Illya Somin, who argues that the Senate should “just say no” to Sessions’ nomination. Somin criticizes Sessions for his support of asset forfeiture, the war on drugs—Sessions has said that “good people don’t smoke marijuana”—, and restrictions on immigration.
Sessions’ nomination will almost certainly be confirmed
Sessions is pretty much a shoe-in for the post of U.S. Attorney General. In the 80s, Sessions failed to win the Senate’s approval for a spot on the federal judiciary because former coworkers accused him of being a racist. Those same accusations could keep Sessions out of Trump’s cabinet, but it would require Republican senators to vote against his nomination, which is unlikely.
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