SYLACAUGA, Ala. – President-elect Donald Trump has nominated United States Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) for the cabinet position of Attorney General of the United States. Sessions is set to have a two day hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee on Jan. 10-11, 2017.
Sessions has been serving the State of Alabama since 1994 when he was elected Attorney General of Alabama. Two years later, Sessions ran for U.S. Senate and won, receiving 53% of the state-wide vote. Currently serving in his fourth, six-year term in the U.S. Senate, set to expire in 2021, Sessions is a member of Senate Budget Committee, Senate Judiciary Committee, Senate Armed Services Committee, and Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
Sessions made a national name for himself after attending a Donald Trump presidential campaign rally in August 2015 in Mobile, Ala. wearing a Trump campaign hat. Months later, before the Alabama Republican Presidential Primary, the Alabama senator officially endorsed Trump for President of the United States, making him the first sitting United States Senator to endorse Trump. Sessions was a prominent figure in the Trump campaign from that point forward, often advising the candidate on key policy issues. Sessions was even rumored as a candidate for Vice Presidential nominee on the Republican ticket, although that position eventually went to Indiana Governor Mike Pence. After Pence was given the Vice Presidential nomination, many political analysts expected Sessions to be offered a cabinet position if Trump was in fact elected President.
After the Presidential Election in November, President-elect Trump announced his intention to nominate Sessions as Attorney General. Sessions’ nomination was the first major nomination of the Trump cabinet announced. Still, despite receiving the nomination from the President-elect, Sessions must be confirmed by the United States Senate.
To be confirmed by the Senate, Sessions must receive a 51-vote majority. Republicans currently hold 52 seats in the chamber. On the surface, Sessions should not have trouble receiving a confirmation. However, Sessions is facing opposition from the NAACP after racial bias allegations. Sessions was rejected by a Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee in 1986 to fill a United States District Court seat in Alabama after similar racial bias allegations. In addition, a group of more than 1,000 law professors across the nation have requested the Senate to reject the nomination on the basis of his voting record on voting rights, climate change, LGBT rights, drug policy, and more.
After the hearings, the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on whether or not to proceed with the confirmation process. If the committee votes to proceed, the Senate will wait to vote on Sessions’ confirmation until at least January 20 when President-elect Trump is inaugurated. In 2009, a Democratic-controlled Senate confirmed a number of President Obama’s cabinet nominations on the day of the inauguration. In short, it is not inconceivable that Sessions could assume the office of Attorney General of the United States on January 20, 2017, pending the hearings and confirmation process.
Should Sessions be confirmed as Attorney General, he will be the head of the United States Department of Justice. The Attorney General acts as the top lawyer for the United States, handles major legal affairs, and is the chief law enforcement official in the country.
Also in the event of a confirmation, Sessions would resign his Senate seat, leaving one of Alabama’s Senate seats vacant. Governor Robert Bentley would then be tasked with appointing a replacement and then scheduling a special election to fill out the rest Sessions’ Senate term, set to expire in January 2021.
Jack Wilbanks for SylacaugaNews.com | © 2017, SylacaugaNews.com/Marble City Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.