One of President-elect Trump’s first Cabinet announcements was the Nov. 18 selection of conservative Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) to be the next attorney general of the United States.
Sessions, who was elected to the Senate in 1996 and is a longtime member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, earned his law degree from the University of Alabama. He began his career as an attorney in private practice before serving as assistant U.S. attorney from 1975-77 and then as the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Alabama from 1981-1993. He then served as Alabama’s attorney general from 1995-97 before being elected to the Senate. In 1986, his nomination to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama was derailed in the Senate by charges of insensitivity in racial matters as a prosecutor.
Sessions has been a vocal opponent of comprehensive immigration reform proposals and the bipartisan Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act backed this Congress by the ABA. Numerous civil rights organizations have spoken out against his nomination, but Sessions, who was the first senator to endorse Donald Trump for president, is expected to be confirmed by the Senate.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-IA) expressed confidence that Sessions would be favorably reported out of the committee. “Senator Sessions is a respected member and former ranking member of the Judiciary Committee who has worked across the aisle on major legislation. He knows the Justice Department as a former U.S. attorney, which would serve him very well in this position,” Grassley said. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the incoming ranking member on the committee, emphasized in a statement that the attorney general should be “above the fray,” and she is “committed to a full and fair process.”