Senate committee votes to confirm pro-life Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General
WASHINGTON, D.C. February 1, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee hurdle this morning towards his confirmation as U.S. Attorney General in an 11-9 vote that followed party lines.
Mr. Trump nominated Sessions for the position in November.
The Attorney General holds the key position of being the chief law enforcement officer as well as chief lawyer of the United States government. His position would be instrumental in advancing many social conservative goals, such as the prosecution of Planned Parenthood over its sale of aborted baby's body parts.
The vote comes on the heels of President Trump firing acting Attorney General Sally Yates on Monday and a Tuesday committee meeting during which the vote on Sessions was delayed. Trump said Yates “betrayed” the department by refusing to enforce his executive order suspending immigration from terrorist countries that are largely Muslim.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-RI, and Sen. Al Franken, D-MN, each blasted Sessions for over twenty minutes. Whitehouse fretted that Sessions is too Christian and will give preference to "Christian" and not "secular" lawyers at the Department of Justice. He lamented Sessions' "record on support of gay and lesbian Americans" and seeming willingness to "[line] up with that massive polluting industry" instead of the environmentalist agenda.
Whitehouse also complained that Sessions has said positive words about the conservatives news site Breitbart. In Whitehouse's objection to Breitbart, he read as an example the title of one of its 2015 articles, "Birth control makes women unattractive and crazy."
He said Sessions has "failed to distance himself from extremist hate groups."
Democrats during the first part of the hearing on Tuesday also made long-winded speeches in which they critisized Sessions for being too closely connected to Mr. Trump and would therefore be incapable of exercising independence similar to Yates.
“I have no confidence that Senator Sessions will do [what Yates did],” said California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein. “Instead, he has been the fiercest, most dedicated and most loyal promoter in Congress of the Trump agenda,” she added.
Numerous Democrats also raised concern that Sessions would not support Roe v. Wade and would allow the overturning of what they called a "woman's right to choose" abortion.
But Republicans defended Sessions as the right man for the job who had the right qualifications and a proven track record.
“Senator Sessions has assured us that he will enforce the laws fully, fairly, and independently. These answers, combined with his life of public service and his experience working with each of us, assure me that Senator Sessions will make an outstanding Attorney General,” said Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, in his opening remarks.
Sessions has a 20-year history of fighting for life and family values as a U.S. senator.
In 2006, Sessions voted in favor of a constitutional amendment protecting marriage. He opposed the repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on open homosexuals serving.
Sessions called the Supreme Court's redefinition of marriage "beyond breathtaking." He warned, “We are at a period of secularization in America that I think is very dangerous, it erodes the very concept of truth, the very concept of right and wrong, and there are people out there who enjoy attacking people who follow biblical directives.”
Sessions has a 100% voting record from National Right to Life. Sessions helped Trump vet his list of potential pro-life Supreme Court nominees.
Following the Center for Medical Progress's videos showing Planned Parenthood trafficking in fetal body parts, Sessions joined with Republican colleagues asking Attorney General Loretta Lynch and the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate the abortion giant.
Eerier this month during his Senate confirmation hearing Sessions unapologetically slammed the 1973 abortion decision Roe v. Wade, calling it the “one of the worst” Supreme Court decisions.
The vote comes on the heels of Democrats on the committee pushing for what pundits say is an “unprecedented” delay. Democrats claimed they needed more time to go through hundreds of pages of responses Sessions had written to questions about how he would fulfill his duty if selected.
President Trump has taken to Twitter in the last 24 hours to express his frustration about the Democrat delay.
Nancy Pelosi and Fake Tears Chuck Schumer held a rally at the steps of The Supreme Court and mic did not work (a mess)-just like Dem party!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 31, 2017
When will the Democrats give us our Attorney General and rest of Cabinet! They should be ashamed of themselves! No wonder D.C. doesn't work!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 31, 2017
Sessions now faces a vote in the Senate, where Republicans hold a 52-seat majority, before he can take office.
Other Trump nominees have faced even more strident opposition from Democrats. Democrats refused to show up Tuesday and Wednesday to the Senate Finance Committee's vote on Trump's Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) nominee, Rep. Tom Price, R-GA, thus blocking him from progressing to approval. As a result, this morning, Republicans suspended the committee rules to allow Price's nomination to move forward.