Senate Democrats say Jeff Sessions is in for a confirmation fight

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Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions should expect a lengthy confirmation process, said eight Senate Democrats who sit on the Judiciary Committee.

In a letter to committee chair and Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Democrats said that while they each have “personal and cordial relationships” with Sessions, his role as Attorney General will require him to “set aside personal beliefs and political positions in service of larger obligations.”

“Specifically, the Attorney General does not wear two hats, as a prior Attorney General stated,” the Democrats said. “Rather the Attorney General must be the people’s lawyer, not the President’s lawyer, and must enforce the laws with a dispassionate and even hand.”

The letter pointed out that confirmation proceedings for former Attorney General John Ashcroft lasted four days and included testimony from four members of Congress and 19 outside witnesses.

With a nearly 20-year career in the Senate, as well as stints as both a federal prosecutor and Alabama Attorney General, the group said Sessions’ nomination will “present a voluminous record spanning tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of pages.”

The group also said the Judiciary Committee must hear from witnesses on immigration, violence against women, civil rights, LGBT protections, racial justice and hate crimes, among other areas.

The Democrats urged Grassley to ensure the nomination process is “thorough, transparent, and fair – not just a rubber stamp.”

The letter, sent Monday, was signed by Democratic Sens. Patrick Leahy, Dianne Feinstein, Richard Durbin, Sheldon Whitehouse, Amy Klobuchar, Al Franken, Christopher Coons and Richard Bloomenthal.

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