Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), former civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), and Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, will all testify against Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Donald Trump's attorney general nominee, when his confirmation hearings start Tuesday.
Booker told MSNBC's Chris Hayes on Monday he would be "breaking a pretty long Senate tradition" by testifying. "We've seen Jeff Sessions... consistently voting against or speaking out against key ideals of the Voting Rights Acts, taking measures to try to block criminal justice reform," he said. "He has a posture and a positioning that I think represent a real danger to our country." While a U.S. Attorney in the 1980s, Sessions was accused by former Justice Department colleagues of making racist comments, and he was denied a federal judgeship. "The attorney general is responsible for ensuring the fair administration of justice, and based on his record, I lack confidence that Sen. Sessions can honor this duty," Booker said.
Several civil rights organizations have criticized Sessions over his opposition to the expansion of gay rights, legalization of marijuana for medical use, legal abortion, and embryonic stem cell research. The NAACP has called him a "threat to desegregation and the Voting Rights Act," and Booker opposes his stonewalling of "bipartisan criminal justice reform" and his "efforts earlier in his career to deny citizens voting rights."