Jeff Sessions as Ranking Republican on Judiciary

The Senate Judiciary Committee is hugely powerful when it comes to crime bills and judges.

Today, the scope of the Judiciary Committee’s jurisdiction has broadened to include terrorism, human rights, immigration law, intellectual property rights, antitrust law, and Internet privacy. The Committee is also tasked with considering the President's nominees for federal judgeships, including Supreme Court justices. One of the most important functions of the Committee is to provide oversight of the Department of Justice, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Jeff Sessions is a disaster for anyone hoping for justice refrom. He's a huge drug warrior, proponent of mandatory minimums. He's also a fierce opponent of immigration reform and any kind of path to citizenship for the undocumented. [More...]

A typical Sessions quote on drug laws:

Sometimes, the sentences were tough. You'd have a 25-year-old who's been selling for a long time getting 15 to 18 years in jail, pretty tough sentences. But as they say, if you can't do the time, don't do the crime. ...

His solution to the crack powder disparity includes raising the levels for powder. He's a fan of Giulianni's "broken windows" policing where you bust and jail the littlest criminals.

One of my favorite of his ignorant remarks:

Isn't it a problem that conspiracy law allows possibly innocent people to be convicted on testimony alone?

That's a theoretical problem; that's not reality. There is not a problem in reality. I've been at it for 15 years, I've seen it time and time again, people do not testify against innocent people, they, reluctantly, only testify against guilty people.

I did a federal drug case in Mobile when he was U.S. Attorney in 1990. It was a miserable experience. I met with him once about my case, he was a cold fish. I'll spare you the rest of the details.

As to his civil rights record I have no personal knowledge and won't judge him.

As ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, he will be in a position to demand that reform bills be seriously watered down. Giving him more power on votes over federal judges is a huge mistake.

More on his record here.

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    The Republicans get to make that call (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by andgarden on Tue May 05, 2009 at 09:57:59 PM EST
    And Jeff Sessions is a perfect representative face of the 2009 Republican party. A Dixiecrat by another name.

    How much power does (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed May 06, 2009 at 12:11:07 AM EST
    the ranking member have if the chairman doesn't want to give it to him?  Leahy can be more of a pushover than I'd like sometimes, but he's no Jay Rockefeller and I can't see him giving somebody as loathesome and overwhelmingly unreasonable on all subjects as Sessions any leeway at all.

    cant they actually (none / 0) (#11)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed May 06, 2009 at 09:40:32 AM EST
    block people out of committee?

    In many ways, Sessions is a gift (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by Radiowalla on Wed May 06, 2009 at 12:17:39 AM EST
    to the Democrats. You'd be hard pressed to find a more stereotypical GOP troglodyte.  He's got the CV of a southern white racist, complete with Beauregard as his middle name.
    I doubt that he will be doing any favors to his party if he is seen as obstructing Obama's nominees for rank political reasons.

    a gift yes (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed May 06, 2009 at 09:33:05 AM EST
    but what twisted thing does it say about our two party system when on one side we have this popular young AA president and on the other we have the like of Beauregard Sessions.
    honestly I think its a little frightening.  I always thought the Republicans were clueless incompetent morons for he most part but it seems with each passing season they become more frightening and threatening clueless incompetent morons.
    not only in the sense of what happens if they ever do regain any power but I also wonder what kind of popular opposition people like Beauregard are going to engender among the masses.
    I honestly think it scary.

    Ding, Ding, Ding! (none / 0) (#5)
    by andgarden on Wed May 06, 2009 at 12:22:18 AM EST
    From Think Progress this morning: (none / 0) (#12)
    by Anne on Wed May 06, 2009 at 10:02:45 AM EST
    Yesterday, President Obama called Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who said that there would have to be "extraordinary circumstances" for Republicans to mount a filibuster of Obama's Supreme Court nominee. "He's so nice," Sessions said of Obama.

    Do I believe that my understanding of "extraordinary circumstances" and the GOP's are at all similar?  Um, no - so I don't see Sessions' comment as being particularly predictive of a GOP that will not object to anyone Obama nominates.

    When Sessions speaks, I generally have to check to see if my ears are bleeding; I do not look forward to him having a position on Judiciary that allows him more time and opportunity to set new standards for boring and stupid.


    They will have an almost impossible task (none / 0) (#13)
    by andgarden on Wed May 06, 2009 at 10:09:00 AM EST
    of blocking any reasonable nominee.

    So nice. Any reports on what (none / 0) (#14)
    by KeysDan on Wed May 06, 2009 at 12:52:32 PM EST
    President Obama said to Senator Sessions?  Hopefully, only cordial salutations relating to his new position of the Judiciary Committee.

    Quick mistake; (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by bocajeff on Wed May 06, 2009 at 06:56:46 AM EST
    The cuts didn't mean that your high school had to cut AP classes and French classes, it just means that your school CHOSE to make the cuts there. My guess (and I could be wrong) is that there were other places to cut and they picked those places as opposed to others such as extra circular or sports programs. I'm not defending the cuts, just saying that sometimes schools have issues with priorities.

    I remember my University having to cut classes because of budget cuts but the new Administration building was beautiful!!!

    Trivial (none / 0) (#9)
    by Salo on Wed May 06, 2009 at 08:55:34 AM EST
    look at teh terror narco war in action:


    and it's 'our' team doing it now.   Filthy.

    Take this for what it's worth (none / 0) (#15)
    by jbindc on Wed May 06, 2009 at 05:09:01 PM EST
    Sessions would consider openly gay Court nominee

    As would (according to this article) at least several prominent Republicans.

    I'll believe it when I see it, but they made public statements on it, so now it's out in cyber-land for all eternity....

    Yes, and he said he (none / 0) (#16)
    by KeysDan on Wed May 06, 2009 at 05:44:29 PM EST
    could support a pro-choice nominee, too.  I am not going to bet the farm on it just yet.  He has to answer not only to his Alabama Republicans, but also, to Rush.

    Heh. Sounds to me like he's daring (none / 0) (#17)
    by Anne on Wed May 06, 2009 at 06:27:52 PM EST
    Obama to send up a person of color...one of the categories that seems to be missing from his list of nominees he would not object to.

    Think an openly gay, pro-choice person of color would make his head explode?


    Donald, you crack me up, lol... (none / 0) (#20)
    by Anne on Wed May 06, 2009 at 08:46:48 PM EST
    You have such a way with words, and I can always count on your comments to rhetorically eviscerate those who so deserve it...like Sessions...

    His voice has always grated on my ears, to the point where I have to hit the "mute" button - the stupidest things come out of his mouth, but you can tell he thinks he's one of the really smart ones.

    I just think it's telling that of all the "kinds" of people he's weighed in on as being "okay," people of color are conspicuously absent.


    He represents his constituents very well (none / 0) (#21)
    by andgarden on Wed May 06, 2009 at 08:52:31 PM EST
    Check out the vote by race.

    That's Alabama.


    Pretty much says it all... (none / 0) (#22)
    by Anne on Wed May 06, 2009 at 09:27:07 PM EST
    Very sad.

    At the risk of sounding unfair to snakes ... (none / 0) (#18)
    by RonK Seattle on Wed May 06, 2009 at 07:19:20 PM EST
    ...Sessions is a snake.

    He is unembarrassed in pursuing conclusions he knows to be non-meritorious, and will do so with great skill and dogged determination. An advocate's advocate, in his way.

    Time will tell if he's a "gift", but he certainly can reinforce some widely unpopular stereotypes of what's left of the Right.

    Don't panic (none / 0) (#23)
    by catmandu on Thu May 07, 2009 at 07:06:48 AM EST
    Sessions will do a good job just like the rest of the committee.  
    I would like the new Supreme Court justice to be a woman.  I feel the gov't leaves us behind in opportunities.  Neither Republican nor Democrat, neither Conservative nor liberal seem to value women.  I suppose since we're half the population, we're considered majority and can be ignored at will.

    When It Comes to Being Rank (none / 0) (#24)
    by john horse on Thu May 07, 2009 at 05:39:43 PM EST
    there are few Senators as ranking as Senator Sessions.