Tag Archives: Matt Zapotosky. The Washington Post

Senator Jeff Sessions is not fit to be Attorney General

Epics traditionally begin in the middle [1]. Confirmation of Senator Jeff Beauregard Sessions to be Attorney General of the United States is no exception. I am strongly opposed to the confirmation of Senator Sessions. What follows are my reasons.

This epic has been changing quickly. Time and date matter regarding the ultimate outcome. I am writing on Thursday, February 2, 2017 from the Borough of State College, Pennsylvania.

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Jeff Sessions approved by Judiciary Committee after another bitter hearing

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 10, 2017, at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.  (Photo by Alex Brandon, AP)

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Article by: Matt Zapotosky. The Washington Post, Published February 1, 2017

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday voted 11-9 to advance the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., as attorney general. He is expected to be confirmed by the full Senate by the end of the week.

Republicans, who need only a majority vote to approve him, control 52 of the Senate’s 100 seats, and Democrats have thus far failed to convince anyone on the other side of the aisle to oppose Sessions.

The committee vote, which passed along party lines, comes at a tumultuous time for the Department of Justice. On Monday, President Donald Trump fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, an Obama administration holdover, after she refused to defend his controversial immigration order.

Senate Democrats lambasted the move as improper and said it called into question whether Sessions would enforce laws with which the president took issue. Republicans, meanwhile, asserted that Yates was the one to have acted wrongly in refusing to defend an order that the Justice Department‘s own Office of Legal Counsel had deemed lawful.

The dispute led to a bitter Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday, and the panel ultimately decided it would wait a day to vote on Sessions’ nomination. On Wednesday, Democrats again launched bitter attacks against Sessions before the vote.

The process, along with fights over other Cabinet nominees, has frustrated Trump, who took to Twitter on Tuesday to decry Democrats.

“When will the Democrats give us our Attorney General and rest of Cabinet!” he wrote. “They should be ashamed of themselves! No wonder D.C. doesn’t work!”

Until Sessions can be confirmed, the Justice Department is being led by Dana Boente, the U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia who was chosen to lead in Yates place. Boente, a longtime Justice Department lawyer nominated by President Barack Obama for his U.S. attorney’s job, rescinded Yates’ directive not to defend Trump’s immigration order.

Trump on Tuesday also announced three other picks for Justice Department leadership. Provided they are confirmed, Rod Rosenstein, the U.S. attorney from Maryland, will serve as the deputy attorney general, the No. 2 post in the department, and Rachel Brand, a member of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, will serve as the associate attorney general, the No. 3 post. The White House said Trump intends to nominate Steven Engel, a lawyer at the Dechert firm, as an assistant attorney general with reports suggesting he will run the Office of Legal Counsel.

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Copyright notice. The article above appeared in The Chicago Tribune which reproduced it after appearing in The Washington Post. As with the photograph from the AP this is protected information. My understanding is that I have the right to publish it here as a component to this lengthy ongoing essay. Please, copyright holders, feel free to get in touch with me.

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You can’t tell the players without a score card.

The first set of players is the composition of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Yes, the Committee has sent Senator Sessions’ nomination to the floor with the recommendation that he be confirmed. Although this is a done deal, it is helpful for an understanding of the issues involved to know about the Committee members. Several members as well as those testifying against confirmation receive my wholehearted approval. First among equals is the excellent job Senator Al Franken of Minnesota has done.

Let us begin with Senator Franken on Senator Sessions claim to personally handle civil rights cases in defence of the Voting Rights Act. Let the testimony speak for itself. Play by play will follow orienting you. Promise.

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Senator Franken here is presenting one of several reasons why Senator Sessions should not be confirmed. I regret The Exalted Nation of Truth which posted this testimony excerpt did so with the “Sen. Franken destroys Sen. Sessions…” banner you see.  My regret is not so great I need to search through YouTube to find a neutral clip.

This excerpt is an excellent example of in media res in action. Sen. Franken is testifying in reply to Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. Se. Cruz, in defending the charge Sen. Franken made that Sen. Sessions misled the Committee, made a statement attacking Sen. Franken’s character.

Here Sen. Franken is trying to set the matter straight. While doing so, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas objected to Sen. Franken’s remarks. Sen. Cornyn’s objection concerned senate protocol–a leit motif that runs the drama and which I will address by and by. The Chairman of the Judiciary Committee Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa looks like he is squirming because he is. As Chairman Sen. Grassley decides who speaks for so long and when a senator objects–as Sen. Cornyn did repeatedly–whether to comply with the objection (i.e. tell Sen. Franken to shut up) or not.

Color coverage of Judiciary Committee and details of the players will be provided. First, there is context. In 1986, President Ronald Reagan nominated Jeff Sessions (not then a senator) to be a federal judge. The Senate Judiciary Committee killed the nomination because Committee members accepted the testimony of witnesses who said that Sessions had made remarks that could be construed as racist and because of actions that Sessions allegedly took. Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachussets led the opposition, [In the interest of full disclosure, in the summer and fall of 1976 I worked for Senator Kennedy.

Here is a clip from NBC describing the opposition to Sessions nomination in 1986.

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