Senate Must Stop Sessions Nomination in Wake of Immigration Ban & Rash Firing of Acting A.G. Yates

    Media Contact
  • David Vance
Statement of Karen Hobert Flynn, Common Cause President

Tomorrow’s presumed rubber-stamping of Jeff Sessions’ nomination as Attorney General will be a rash and irresponsible act by the Judiciary Committee. It will then be up to the full Senate to stop the confirmation of Sessions, whom the White House credits with masterminding the administration’s immigration policies and whose acolytes rammed through the constitutionally suspect and un-American immigration ban. 

Executive agencies, according to several reports, were never consulted on the immigration executive order, and should have been.  As Senators Graham and McCain noted in a joint statement earlier this week, it was “not properly vetted” and thus resulted in mass confusion that affects real people’s lives and their families. Reports also indicate that the order triggered mass illegal detainments, including against legal permanent residents. Instead of holding an additional hearing and posing tough questions about Sessions’ devotion to the Constitution, the Judiciary Committee has abandoned its duty to serve as a coequal branch of government. 

The Attorney General is sworn to support and defend the Constitution. Sally Yates, as acting Attorney General, was true to that oath in declaring that the Department of Justice would not defend the President’s immigration order. Her stand provided an independent, internal check to the executive branch– a critical requirement of the job. 

Americans expect that the top law enforcement officer in the country will be a fierce advocate for justice, remaining faithful to the rule of law regardless of who occupies the White House. When the full Senate weighs Sen. Jeff Sessions’ nomination to be the next Attorney General, it would be wise to postpone a floor vote, hold another hearing to obtain information on unanswered questions, and ensure that Sen. Sessions will work in the public’s interest. The American people deserve to know if Sen. Sessions would say no to the President when he asks for something improper, an important question he asked Sally Yates at her confirmation hearing just two years ago.