Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has announced that he will vote against confirming Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) for U.S. Attorney General, saying he is "not confident in Senator Sessions’ ability to be a defender of the rights of all Americans, or to serve as an independent check on the incoming administration."
Following two days of testimony during Senator Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearing for U.S. Attorney General — which included Senator Al Franken catching Sessions in rank misrepresentations of his civil rights record; Senator Pat Leahy busting him on trying to rewrite his LGBT record; Senator Dianne Feinstein grilling him on his dismal reproductive justice record; and Senator Cory Booker taking the unprecedented step of testifying against his Senate colleague — Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer has announced that he will vote against Sessions’ confirmation.
In a statement, Schumer noted that Sessions is “a colleague and a friend” with whom he has worked on “a number of different issues, particularly trade, over our years of service in the Senate together,” but, given the Attorney General’s “sacred obligation to enforce our laws and uphold the constitution,” he cannot in good conscience support Sessions in the role.
The law gives a voice to the voiceless, it protects the oppressed from the powerful, and it defends the rights of all people, regardless of gender, sexuality, or religion. The Attorney General must wake up every single day ensuring the rights of all Americans: immigrants, minorities, young and old, gay and straight, disabled and not are protected. Every right — freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the freedom to vote, or any other enshrined in our Constitution or the law — must be protected for every American.
The Attorney General is also tasked with ensuring that the President and the Administration follow the law, pursuing policies that adhere to American values and ideals, and serving as a check to ensure the President is not above the law. If the President violates the law, it is incumbent on the Attorney General to hold him or her accountable.
After reviewing his record and giving careful consideration to his answers during the hearing, I am not confident in Senator Sessions’ ability to be a defender of the rights of all Americans, or to serve as an independent check on the incoming administration. I am also deeply concerned by his views on immigration, which I saw firsthand during the push for comprehensive immigration reform. For those reasons, I will oppose his nomination to serve as the next Attorney General.