Senate Democrats are poised to throw away 20 years of friendship and a bipartisan working relationship with Sen. Jeff Sessions to wreak political vengeance on him this week as they consider his nomination for attorney general.
From Washington Times
Highlighting the deep partisan divide and the bad blood between Democratic lawmakers and President-elect Donald Trump, the same senators who have socialized and co-authored reams of legislation with Mr. Sessions are under pressure from liberal interest groups to air accusations that he is a racist, a sexist and a homophobe.
Mr. Sessions, who has held an Alabama seat in the Senate since 1997 and has served as the state’s attorney general and as a U.S. attorney, is expected to win confirmation from his colleagues, including support from several Democrats. But it won’t be pretty.
Heading into two days of confirmation hearings that begin Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he serves as a member, liberal activist groups have gone so far as to label him a “white supremacist,” and his Democratic colleagues have expressed doubt about his ability to enforce the law without prejudice.
Mr. Sessions has weathered protests in Alabama by the NAACP, which joined other racial minority groups in urging senators to oppose the nomination.
“The question is what in his record over 40 years suggests that we can trust him to enforce the nation’s civil rights laws, and the onus is on Sen. Sessions to prove, in light of that record, that he is fit for this position,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, a New York Democrat who has described Mr. Sessions as a “gym buddy,” raised the specter of “troubling things” in the nominee’s past and promised tough questions.
Most of the opposition stems from accusations that in the 1980s, while serving as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, Mr. Sessions inappropriately prosecuted black voter rights activists and made racially insensitive comments and jokes.
Those accusations derailed his nomination to the federal bench in 1986.
He was accused then, as he is now, of calling a black U.S. attorney “boy,” describing the NAACP as “un-American” and joking that he thought the Ku Klux Klan was OK until he found out they smoke marijuana.
The government watchdog group Common Cause came out against the nomination, citing his state opposition to the Voting Rights Act, which he argued was outdated. In 2006, however, Mr. Sessions voted to extend the law another 25 years.
The liberal group Democracy for America sent an email to supporters branding Mr. Sessions a “white supremacist” and calling him “anti-woman” because he once voted against the Violence Against Women Act.
Mr. Sessions isn’t fazed by the assault on him or by the objections from his fellow senators. He expected it as part of the partisan process and as an effort by Democrats to distract from Mr. Trump’s agenda, said a source close to the nominee.
Trump transition team officials also said that they have diligently prepared for the hearings and are confident Mr. Sessions is ready for whatever questions he receives.
Still, Mr. Sessions is getting pushback from Democrats with whom he has worked the closest.
Read Full Story At Washington Times