With a Grilling Looming, Confirmation Hearing for Sessions Under Way

SESSIONS’ CONFIRMATION HEARINGS UNDER WAY: The Senate Judiciary Committee began two days of hearings on Tuesday on the Attorney General nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions, as the Alabama Republican faced a potential barrage of questions about his civil rights record and staunchly conservative views.

“On all the issues and matters covered by the Department of Justice, he’s taken positions hostile to the very mission of the department in its work in civil rights and civil liberties,”  Nan Aron, president of our sister organization Alliance for Justice, told US News & World Report for its curtain-raising article. “He will, given what we know about him, roll back the progress made in civil and human rights.”

Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, the latter described by The New York Times as a “hero of the civil rights movement,” were planning to testify in opposition to Sessions’ confirmation. Politico reported that the transition team of President-elect Donald Trump had carefully prepared a strategy for Sessions to combat any allegations of racism. And his hearing began promptly on Tuesday despite a late-hour Washington Post article raising questions about whether Sessions had met his disclosure obligations, titled “Sessions failed to disclose oil interests as required, ethics experts say.”

Other coverage on the eve of the hearings included CNN, “Matthew Shepard’s mother blasts Trump AG pick Sessions’ votes on hate crimes law”; Washington Post, “Sessions to press image of tough lawman and independent voice at attorney general hearings”; Mic, “Read Jeff Sessions’ opening statements before his attorney general hearing”; and Mother Jones, “Jeff Sessions Has a History of Blocking Black Judges: ‘The senator has a problem putting African Americans on the federal bench in Alabama.'”

SUPREME COURT VACANCY: From Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court picks, SCOTUSblog profiled Justice Joan Larsen of the Michigan Supreme Court. BuzzFeed examined potential changes in the direction of the court under Trump.