A ‘GRINDING’ CONFIRMATION PROCESS AHEAD: “Senate Democrats are preparing to put Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks through a grinding confirmation process, weighing delay tactics that could eat up weeks of the Senate calendar and hamper his first 100 days in office,” Politico reported.
Attorney General pick Sen. Jeff Sessions “looks like he’s in for an especially rough ride. [Sen. Sherrod] Brown said Sessions ‘was dissed by the Senate once for his racism,’ a reference to his rejection by the chamber 30 years ago to become a federal judge,” the article said.
Democrats’ plans to affect the confirmation process are partly a response to Senate Republicans’ obstruction of President Obama’s Supreme Court nomination for Judge Merrick Garland. “They’ve been rewarded for stealing a Supreme Court justice. We’re going to help them confirm their nominees, many of whom are disqualified?” said Brown, D-Ohio. “It’s not obstruction, it’s not partisan, it’s just a duty to find out what they’d do in these jobs.”
The Pew Research Center, meanwhile, issued an analysis titled “What kinds of backgrounds do US attorneys general have?” and Newsweek had an opinion by Jacob Sullum, “Attorney General Pick Sessions is a Drug War Dinosaur.” The Hill reported that Sessions’ nomination is likely to be among the first considered, and, “It’s also possible that the Senate Judiciary Committee could seek to confirm a Trump nominee to the Supreme Court shortly after Sessions is confirmed.”
A Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial had scathing criticism for the blockade against Garland’s nomination. “Indeed, the Senate has established a terrible precedent that makes it less likely that any president will be able to get a Senate controlled by the other party to confirm his Supreme Court nominees, however wise and well-qualified,” the editorial said. “This was a study in Washington politics at its worst — political and constitutional malpractice — and it will have a lasting consequence.”
ON VOTING RULES, COURTS AND SESSIONS: In an article about voting rules in a Trump era, The New York Times said, “Several potentially decisive federal court rulings on voting rules and redistricting, most favoring voting-rights advocates, now appear bound for a Supreme Court whose ideological balance is in Mr. Trump’s hands. Enforcement of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, a linchpin of some of those cases, will fall to a Justice Department whose likely attorney general, Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama, is viewed with deep suspicion by civil rights advocates.”