The Wall Street Journal editorial board lays into Senate Democrats strategy to resist Jeff Sessions’ AG nomination, noting their snub of him “is a remarkable way to treat a longtime colleague.”
The ed board points out the slew of bipartisan legislation Sessions has worked on during his Senate tenure, including his vote to confirm Eric Holder for AG, and adds that Democrats continued resistance efforts only impugn “the character and qualifications” of a career public servant:
Democrats Refuse Even Courtesy Calls With Jeff Sessions.
The Wall Street Journal
December 24, 2016
The progressive Donald Trump doomsday clock is still at a minute to midnight even as the President-elect has named a string of mainstream cabinet nominees, and Senate Democrats are signaling that they plan to fight nearly all of them. They’re even calling themselves “the resistance,” which does accurately capture the combination of melodrama and failure to accept the election defeat.
On Thursday all 16 ranking members of the Senate committees that will vet nominees published a joint letter claiming that Mr. Trump’s transition is “slow-walking full disclosure of key information” about ethics and finances. They threatened to delay or attempt to block committee votes if they aren’t satisfied with these materials or if they feel they aren’t given sufficient time for review.
Of course Mr. Trump’s nominees ought to disclose their documents and resolve conflicts of interest—but the bad faith is revealed by the hopped-up campaign against Jeff Sessions for Attorney General. The Alabama Senator has been a fixture in Congress since 1996 and a senior member of the Judiciary Committee since 2009. Yet ranking member Dianne Feinstein claimed in a Dec. 13 letter that this well-known veteran is trying to frustrate the committee’s “due diligence,” as if his beliefs and qualifications are an enigma.
Ms. Feinstein might have started to demystify this sphinx with a traditional nominee courtesy call, but the Californian and other Judiciary Democrats abruptly cancelled the scheduled meetings and then skipped town for Christmas recess. Democrats at Senate Finance are following the same strategy with other nominees, but the Sessions snub is a remarkable way to treat a longtime colleague.
Mr. Sessions’s political themes in recent years have been trade and illegal immigration, and his views aren’t ours or presumably Ms. Feinstein’s. But he also has a history of successful bipartisan legislation, including a 1996 bill about the rights of crime victims—cosponsored with Ms. Feinstein.
Mr. Sessions also joined with Illinois’s Dick Durbin to eliminate the sentencing disparity for crack and cocaine (2009), with the late Ted Kennedy to reduce prison assault (2006) and with Connecticut’s Richard Blumenthal on child protection (2011). Despite their differences, new Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has repeatedly praised the Senator’s “fairness” and “very good example.”
If they now want to oppose Mr. Sessions on the merits, then fine, and partisans aren’t known for political consistency. But they also know they’re unlikely to block Mr. Trump’s nominees because Harry Reid nuked the filibuster in 2013. Thus they’re inventing fake process objections: To wit, Mr. Sessions has disclosed about 150,000 pages detailing his speeches and writings over the decades. Is that really slow-walking information? And memo to Democrats: Anything said on the Senate floor is in the Congressional Record.
Ms. Feinstein is also protesting because Mr. Sessions’s confirmation hearings are scheduled to begin before the inauguration, on Jan. 10, though every AG hearing since 1953 has been held before the inauguration. Eric Holder’s hearing was on Jan. 15, 2009 and he was confirmed 75-21 on Feb. 2 with the support of 19 Republicans, including Mr. Sessions.
Ms. Feinstein told the San Francisco Chronicle that she plans to lead “the resistance,” which apparently means impugning the character and qualifications of a long-time colleague.