A news coverage roundup of Jeff Sessions’ upcoming attorney general confirmation hearing in the wake of Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily banning immigration from seven Middle East and African nations,
The Alabama Senator faces a vote Tuesday by the Senate Judiciary Committee, a day after the president dismissed Acting Attorney General Sally Yates after she questioned the legality of his immigration directive.
The Huffington Post — What was Jeff Sessions’ role in Donald Trump’s immigration order?
Amid growing evidence that the Trump administration rushed into a legally- and constitutionally-shaky ban on immigration from seven Middle East and African nations, the U.S. Senate is about to rush to judgment on the president’s top legal adviser, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama. That would be a mistake. And thankfully, it’s one the Senate can still avoid. With a vote scheduled Tuesday morning in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sessions’ nomination, Chairman Charles Grassley should order a new hearing and a delay in voting so that senators can learn what role Sessions played in drafting the immigration ban and ascertain his views on its legality and constitutionality.
The Washington Post — Donald Trump’s hard-line actions have an intellectual godfather: Jeff Sessions
The early days of the Trump presidency have rushed a nationalist agenda long on the fringes of American life into action — and Sessions, the quiet Alabamian who long cultivated those ideas as a Senate backbencher, has become a singular power in this new Washington. Sessions’s ideology is driven by a visceral aversion to what he calls “soulless globalism,” a term used on the extreme right to convey a perceived threat to the United States from free trade, international alliances and the immigration of nonwhites. And despite many reservations among Republicans about that worldview, Sessions — whose 1986 nomination for a federal judgeship was doomed by accusations of racism that he denied — is finding little resistance in Congress to his proposed role as Trump’s attorney general.
While you were sitting down to dinner last night, President Trump ignited this country’s most significant constitutional crisis since Nixon‘s Saturday Night Massacre, firing Acting Attorney General Sally Yates after she issued a one-page letter opining that President Trump’s Muslim ban is unlawful and ordering Department of Justice attorneys not to defend it in court. This morning, the Senate Judiciary Committee is set to vote on the nomination of the ban’s “intellectual godfather,” Alabama Senator and genteel racist Jeff Sessions, to the position of Attorney General — the very position from which Yates was fired for voicing her opinion on the ban less than 24 hours ago … With Sessions revealed as the ideological heavyweight behind the ban, Yates’s letter suddenly transformed Tuesday’s Judiciary Committee confirmation vote into a litmus test of just how much lawmakers who claim to oppose that ban actually mean it.
Tuesday morning’s confirmation hearing for Jeff Sessions, President Donald’s nominee for U.S. Attorney General, will be the first time Sessions has spoken publicly since Trump issued an executive order last week that imposed sweeping restrictions on immigrants and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries. The nomination of the former U.S. Senator from Alabama is one of the most contentious of Trump’s cabinet picks, with Democrats, civil rights organizations and immigrant advocates lambasting his long history of policies and actions they describe as racist, divisive and unjust. Despite strong opposition from the left, there is something of a consensus among many political experts, professors, lawyers and pundits that the Sessions is all but guaranteed to ultimately be approved for America’s top law enforcement position. Observers will be watching Tuesday to see if and how Democratic senators — and the handful of Republicans who have publicly criticized the immigration moves — will speak out against the executive orders during the hearing, or even vote against Sessions.
Frustrated with a President who seems to be running roughshod over American policy, Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, an Obama appointee, announced she would not defend the order. Yates said she would refuse to put the power of the Department of Justice behind this measure in the courts. Human rights, civil rights, and civil liberties supporters were bolstered by her defiance. Then Trump fired her by a hand-delivered letter, revealing the fragility of the opposition to this administration. Even with this blowup, it still does not seem that the Republican Senate, eager to secure this moment of unified government, will do anything to jeopardize Senator Jeff Sessions’ confirmation as Attorney General. And from everything we know, Sessions will be much more than merely willing to enforce this order and anything else that comes from the Trump White House involving immigration and refugees in the coming years.
Trump unleashed his fury on Democrats this morning for holding up the confirmation of his attorney general, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions. ‘When will the Democrats give us our Attorney General and rest of Cabinet! They should be ashamed of themselves! No wonder D.C. doesn’t work!’ he tweeted. Another message nicknamed a leading Democrat Senator ‘Fake Tears Chuck Schumer,’ building on a riff Trump delivered Monday in the Oval Office. Democrats have been taking advantage of Senate rules to slow votes on Trump’s cabinet appointees.
Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions is poised to clear his first Senate hurdle Tuesday morning on his way to becoming head of the Department of Justice — a role thrown into sudden upheaval hours after the firing of the acting attorney general … Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the ranking Democrat on the committee, is leading a vote to block Sessions, calling into question his civil rights record, hard-line immigration stance and ability to enforce the nation’s laws independently from what the White House would want. “I have serious doubts that Sen. Sessions would be an independent Attorney General,” Leahy said in a statement Monday. Sessions was the first Senator to endorse Trump’s candidacy for president.
Senate panels were expected Tuesday to advance Trump’s picks of Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., to be health secretary; Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., to be attorney general; wealthy conservative activist Betsy DeVos to head the Education Department and Steven Mnuchin to lead Treasury. All had strong Republican support, though final confirmation votes by the full Senate weren’t yet scheduled. Republicans were trying to help Trump staff his Cabinet in the second week of an administration that has ignited fights on multiple fronts. Trump by executive action has clamped temporary bans against refugees from all countries and visitors from seven Muslim-majority nations, and he’s seen relations with Mexico sour after insisting it will pay for a border wall. And he’s backing the GOP’s problematic efforts to dismantle President Barack Obama‘s health care overhaul.
Los Angeles Times — Jeff Sessions isn’t the attorney general we need
Unlike some of Trump’s Cabinet nominees, Sessions possesses the necessary professional experience for the position to which he has been nominated: He was a longtime U.S. attorney and served as Alabama’s attorney general before being elected to the Senate. We also concede that the president — any president — is entitled to considerable deference from the Senate in staffing the executive branch. It would be unreasonable to expect a Republican president to populate his Cabinet with liberal Democrats. But Cabinet officers in general and the attorney general, in particular, aren’t merely executors of a president’s policy. They also are responsible for implementing laws enacted by Congress. In the case of the attorney general, those include laws against discrimination on the basis of race, religion and gender as well as those that punish crimes motivated by hatred of gays and lesbians. Our concern is about what he’s done and where he stands on the issues. Although he ultimately voted to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act in 2006, Sessions once called that seminal civil rights law “intrusive” and said it was “good news” for the South when the Supreme Court gutted one of its key provisions. He voted against expanding the federal hate-crimes law to include crimes targeting victims because of their sexual orientation. He also voted against legislation requiring interrogators for the CIA and other agencies to abide by restrictions in the Army Field Manual that prohibit inhumane methods of questioning. (Do we want him working for a president who has said he believes torture “absolutely” works?)