Jeff Sessions is likely to be confirmed as the nation’s next attorney general.
It’s been said that “to the victors go the spoils.” In Sessions’ case, the victor happens to be a U.S. senator who was among Donald J. Trump’s earliest and most vocal supporters in his winning bid for the presidency.
Trump has rewarded the Alabama Republican with a nomination to become the nation’s top lawyer, its top law enforcement officer, its primary legal eagle.
The irony — not to mention the potential consequence — of this appointment is too rich to overlook.
Sessions has served in the Senate since 1997. For nearly a decade he’s been a member of the very “club” that once rejected an earlier nomination for Sessions to become a federal judge.
President Reagan nominated Sessions to the federal bench in 1986. Sessions, though, seemed to have this thing about African-Americans. He allegedly made some racist comments while serving as a federal prosecutor. He once said something akin to endorsing the Ku Klux Klan until he learned that some KKKers “smoked pot.” Sessions declared that to be a “joke,” that he was just kiddin’ around.
Well, the Senate rejected his judicial nomination. Sessions, though, decided to join the club. He was elected in 1996 and since then has been passing judgment on other judicial nominees who’ve come before the Judiciary Committee, where he serves.
Thus, the irony.
Sessions will be confirmed eventually, but only because senators are deeply resistant to rejecting one of their own, no matter how repulsive he may be.
The Justice Department has made great strides in recent years — under Attorneys General Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch — in ensuring equal protection under the law for all Americans. Does one really expect an Attorney General Jeff Sessions to continue that trend?
I fear that the attorney general’s office is going to take a decidedly less-aggressive posture in enforcing civil rights violations when they occur. I also am wary of anything Jeff Sessions says about his commitment to ensuring equal justice for all Americans.
His buddies in the Senate will confirm this nomination. I am hoping, though, for a thorough going-over regarding his record as a prosecutor and that silly rejection to the federal judgeship over things he said about many of our fellow citizens.
Perhaps one of his inquisitors will ask: “Sen. Sessions, if the Senate deemed you unfit to be a federal judge, why should it confirm you now as attorney general?”