AP Photo/Susan Walsh
Susan Walsh

Jeff Sessions’ AG nomination faces fierce pushback

Donald Trump won’t be inaugurated until Jan. 20, which means he can’t formally nominate anyone for his upcoming cabinet for at least another two weeks. Senate Republicans, however, are eager to get moving on some of the officials the president-elect has already chosen, including Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Trump’s choice to be the next Attorney General.

The Rachel Maddow Show, 11/18/16, 9:21 PM ET

Racism concerns surround Jeff Sessions as Trump's AG pick

Ari Berman, senior writer for The Nation, talks with Rachel Maddow about the racism in Senator Jeff Sessions’ past and the alarm over Donald Trump selection of Sessions to serve as the next attorney general of the United States.
In fact, GOP leaders have already scheduled Sessions’ confirmation hearing for next Tuesday. Yesterday, some of the Alabama Republican’s critics made clear they’d like to slow the process down a bit.
The NAACP’s national president appeared to be arrested after a sit-in at the Mobile, Alabama, office of U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions to protest his nomination to be the country’s next attorney general, according to a Facebook Live stream of the scene. […]

The sit-in was part of a larger protest by national and local NAACP chapters, which also included press conferences and demonstrations at other Sessions offices.
This was a high-profile part of a broader push against Sessions’ nomination. Consider the developments from just the last week or so:

* A group of more than 1,100 law-school professors also released a joint letter to Congress yesterday, urging that the GOP senator’s nomination be rejected. “We are convinced that Jeff Sessions will not fairly enforce our nation’s laws and promote justice and equality in the United States,” the letter said.

* Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) wrote a letter of his own to senators, by way of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, about Sessions’ efforts to criminalize voting assistance.

* This morning, former attorneys with the Justice Department’s civil rights division wrote a Washington Post op-ed, explaining that Sessions didn’t work on the civil-rights cases he claims to have tackled. (The Atlantic’s Adam Serwer helped break this story a couple of weeks ago.)

* According to a very detailed report from a series of progressive organizations, Sessions completed a required questionnaire for the Senate Judiciary Committee, but the organization found “astonishingly deficient” gaps, including years’ worth of omissions.

Maybe the Senate shouldn’t be in too big a hurry to rush this guy through?

* Postscript: The Democratic National Committee wants Sessions to recuse himself from his own confirmation vote, as per the traditional custom for senators nominated for cabinet posts. As best as I can tell, Sessions hasn’t commented publicly on his plans, but if the Alabaman doesn’t vote, it will reduce the margin for error in the 52-48 chamber.

Cabinet, Jeff Sessions, Justice Department and Senate Republicans

Jeff Sessions' AG nomination faces fierce pushback