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Highlights of Sessions' Confirmation Hearing

  • VOA News

U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on his nomination to become U.S. attorney general, Jan. 10, 2017.

Passionate voices spoke out Wednesday on Capitol Hill in support of and in opposition to President-elect Donald Trump's choice to be attorney general, Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama.

Here is some of the testimony heard on the second day of Sessions' confirmation hearing:

Unprecedented display of dissent

Democratic Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey: "If confirmed, Senator Sessions will be required to pursue justice for women, but his record indicates that he won't. He will be expected to defend the equal rights of gay and lesbian and transgender Americans, but his record indicates that he won't. He will be expected to defend voting rights, but his record indicates that he won't."

Democratic Representative John Lewis of Georgia: "It doesn't matter how Senator Sessions may smile, how friendly he may be, how he may speak to you, but we need someone who's going to stand up, speak up and speak out for the people who need help, for people who have been discriminated against."

"Those who are committed to equal justice in our society wonder whether Senator Sessions' call for law and order will mean today what it meant in Alabama when I was coming up back then."

Cornell Brooks, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People: "The NAACP firmly believes that Senator Sessions is unfit to serve as attorney general. Senator Sessions' record reveals a consistent disregard for civil and human rights of vulnerable populations, including African-Americans, Latinos, women, Muslims, immigrants, the disabled, the LGBT community and others."

Strong words of support

Peter Kirsanow, commissioner of the nonpartisan U.S. Commission on Civil Rights: "Senator Sessions' approach to civil rights is consistent, legally sound, intellectually honest, and [he] has an appreciation and understanding of the historical bases for civil rights laws. Several aspects of Senator Sessions' record unfortunately have been mischaracterized and distorted to portray him as somehow being indifferent, if not hostile, to civil rights. The facts emphatically show otherwise."

Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey: Sessions is "principled, intelligent, knowledgeable, thorough, modest, and thoroughly dedicated to the rule of law and to the mission of the [Justice] Department, which is to enforce the law and preserve our freedoms."

William Smith, former chief counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee: "After 20 years of knowing Senator Sessions, I have not seen the slightest evidence of racism, because it does not exist. I know a racist when I see one, and I have seen more than one. Senator Sessions is not one."

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