Speed Reads

senate confirmations

Lots of Democratic senators are actually very chummy with Jeff Sessions

As Democrats prepare to protest Sen. Jeff Sessions' attorney general confirmation Tuesday morning, some are finding that their prior chumminess with the controversial senator puts them in an awkward spot, Politico reports.

Sessions' nomination raised outcry among many liberals and civil rights groups as the Alabama senator was denied a federal judgeship in 1986 after his colleagues testified he had made racist comments, used the n-word, and quipped about the Ku Klux Klan, The Washington Post reports. The Southern Poverty Law Center's Heidi Beirich, who tracks hate speech, even called Sessions' closeness to the president-elect a "tragedy for American politics."

But Sessions has been a presence on the Hill for over two decades. And in that time, he's worked with senators on the other side of the aisle on bipartisan bills that could come back to haunt Democrats during the confirmation. "Expect Sessions' partnership with Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin [D-Ill.] to reduce sentencing disparities for crack and powder cocaine to be a frequent talking point," Politico writes. Or consider that "Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who sits on the Judiciary Committee, was Sessions' bipartisan 'prom date' to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address in 2011."

"The irony is, all of the senators on the committee know Jeff Sessions because they've worked alongside him for many, many years," said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas). "They know he's a very decent, honorable man and somebody who's dedicated to the rule of law."