January 11, 2017

Restore Justice, Confirm Jeff Sessions

Day One of his Senate hearings had plenty of fireworks.

Nominee for attorney general Jeff Sessions was in the hot seat Tuesday as the first of several Trump cabinet picks who face confirmation hearings before the Senate. The Judiciary Committee grilled their soon-to-be former colleague about a number of issues, not the least of which were statements that President-elect Donald Trump made on the campaign trail, and about statements that Sen. Sessions may or may not have made as a judicial candidate 30 years ago.

Sessions first came before the Senate in 1986 as one of Ronald Reagan’s nominees for a federal judgeship. He was voted down at the time for supposedly making derogatory statements to a black colleague and for his alleged support of the Ku Klux Klan. These were unfounded charges, but that’s how Democrats operate — they destroy men’s character.

Sessions continues to deny to this day that he ever supported the KKK or that he had anything but respect for all his colleagues. And after working directly with him for 20 years, it’s hard to believe that any of his fellow senators would believe Sessions to be a racist. In fact, in his opening statement Tuesday, Sessions short-circuited Democrats’ line of attack by addressing the issue head-on.

This didn’t stop hecklers dressed in KKK robes from shouting down the senator during his remarks. They were promptly removed, but other hecklers appeared later to shout down committee member Sen. Ted Cruz, who spoke in praise of Sessions, and even in praise of his Democrat colleagues, who he hopes will approve Sessions on the merits.

Fortunately, Democrats don’t have the votes to defeat Sessions’ nomination. Thanks to their former fearless leader Harry Reid, cabinet nominees can now be approved by a simple majority vote, and the math clearly stacks up in Republicans’ favor. But according to Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, there may be a different strategy at work.

“He’s guaranteed to be confirmed,” says Krikorian. “Democrats know this. The point of this is to dirty up Sessions as much as possible. … A lot of this is just performance art for their base that just can’t believe Trump won.”

Going beyond the theatrical element of Tuesday’s first day of hearings, but only slightly, much of the rest of the focus was on statements Trump made on the campaign trail and just how an Attorney General Sessions would handle those words if they become policy.

On the issue of immigration, Sessions told the committee that deportations would be geared toward legitimate security threats, and that Muslims in general are not being targeted for deportation or being blocked from entering the country.

“I do not support the idea that Muslims as a religious group should be denied admission to the United States,” Sessions said. But Trump has backed so far away from anything resembling that idea that it’s something Democrats bring up only for political advantage.

Sessions also said that he would not support waterboarding because Congress made the practice illegal in 2015. But, as Hot Air’s Allahpundit notes, that could change. If the president orders the military to authorize harsher methods for interrogating prisoners, he does so as commander in chief of the Armed Forces and there may not be much Congress can do about it.

In all his remarks, Sessions clearly indicated that he would uphold Rule of Law, which is precisely what his job entails. The same cannot be said for his predecessors Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, who operated as political hit men for Obama — the latter of whom was caught in an embarrassing moment when she met with Bill Clinton privately during the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

Ranking Democrat member of the committee Dianne Feinstein said in her opening remarks at the confirmation hearing, “Communities across this country are concerned about whether they can rely on the Department of Justice to protect their rights and freedoms.”

The part Feinstein left out is that people have been wondering that for eight years now. What she doesn’t realize is that with a principled person like Jeff Sessions as attorney general, we may see Rule of Law operate in the Justice Department for the first time in quite a while.

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