Los Angeles, CA – Please attribute the following statement on the confirmation process of Sen. Jeff Sessions to be U.S. Attorney General to MALDEF President and General Counsel Thomas A. Saenz.
“In the Senate majority’s mad rush to confirm Donald Trump’s Cabinet with no Latinos, the Senate has performed its constitutional duty of “advice and consent” with unprecedented superficiality. Today, this resulted in the first-ever Cabinet confirmation on a 51-50 vote, with the vice president casting the tie-breaker in support of a woefully-unqualified candidate for Secretary of Education.
With respect to the nomination of Jeff Sessions to be Attorney General, the general superficial approach has been particularly pronounced, mainly because Sessions has been a colleague of the senators, most for multiple years. Sessions’ confirmation hearing was marked by collegial cordiality and desultory commitments that contradict a long history of contrary actions. In short, there was nothing to assuage reasonable concerns about Sessions’ fitness to serve in the federal government’s highest attorney position.
Recent events confirm the unreliability of the testimony and documentary submissions in support of Sessions’ confirmation. Donald Trump’s precipitous removal of Sally Yates as acting attorney general when she raised constitutional concerns about his highly legally-suspect executive order, an order that targets all refugees, but specifically those from seven countries singled out for reasons not apparent but self-evidently not linked to fact-based foreign policy or national security concerns. This swift and overblown reaction to a caretaker attorney general’s disagreement with his idiosyncratic views on the law strongly suggest that Trump would never have nominated Sessions unless he knew that the junior senator from Alabama would not disagree with his views on the law with respect to key priorities, such as the initial flurry of executive orders.
It is fair to conclude then that Sessions agrees with the highly dubious conclusion that each of Trump’s executive orders, including the Muslim ban and the border Wall Mahal, is constitutional. This is enough to confirm that Sessions’ past history better reflects his fitness, or lack thereof, to serve as attorney general than his empty statements at committee.
MALDEF reaffirms its opposition to the confirmation of Jeff Sessions to be Attorney General of the United States, and strongly urges each senator to reject his nomination.”