Top Democrats in the Senate pledged Friday to fight President-elect Donald Trump’s nomination of Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions to be Attorney General, arguing that he may be “too loyal” to Trump, while voicing concerns over Sessions’ past.
The concern centers around whether or not they think Sessions, as attorney general, would be able to provide equal protection to all Americans, during a time where racial tensions in America continue to heat up. After all, Sessions was blocked from a federal district judgeship 30 years ago after accusations of racism arose during his Senate confirmation hearings.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren — one of Congress’ most progressive figures — on Friday called on Trump to rescind his decision to nomination Sessions. She said, according to the Huffington Post:
Instead of embracing the bigotry that fueled his campaign rallies, I urge President-elect Trump to reverse his apparent decision to nominate Senator Sessions to be Attorney General of the United States. If he refuses, then it will fall to the Senate to exercise fundamental moral leadership for our nation and all of its people.
Thirty years ago, a different Republican Senate rejected Senator Sessions’ nomination to a federal judgeship. In doing so, that Senate affirmed that there can be no compromise with racism; no negotiation with hate. Today, a new Republican Senate must decide whether self-interest and political cowardice will prevent them from once again doing what is right.
New York Sen. Chuck Schumer — now the top Democrat in the chamber — said Friday that Sessions will need to be questioned “very carefully” during his Senate hearings, while adding that there are “troubling things” in the Alabama senator’s past.
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, who is one of only three African-American senators, said he has concerns that Sessions “possesses ideologies that are in conflict with basic tenants of the Justice Department’s mission,” according to a statement released by his office.
“Not only has Senator Sessions been a staunch opponent of reforming the tragic shortcomings in our criminal justice system, he holds a number of views that are inconsistent with how most Americans believe justice should be applied under our Constitution,” Booker added.
According to The Hill, other Senate Democrats who sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee plan to give Sessions a fair, but thorough vetting process. They include: Sens. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Chris Coons (Del.), Patrick Leahy (Vt.), Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) and Richard Blumenthal (Conn.).
Still, Senate Republicans have largely supported Trump’s decision to nominate Sessions, and given the GOP’s control over the Senate, Sessions is likely succeed Loretta Lynch as attorney general.