On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee approved President Donald Trump’s nominee for U.S. Attorney General, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), by an 11-9 vote. Sessions’s nomination now moves to the full Senate, where a confirmation vote will likely take place in the coming week.
The Judiciary Committee’s approval came a day later than anticipated, after Democrat committee members delayed the vote in order to express their displeasure with the Trump administration. The move led Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) to remark, “Our friends on the other side seem to be upset about the outcome of the election on November 8. I guess you could say they're going through the stages of grief.”
Before turning contentious, Tuesday’s Judiciary Committee meeting was opened with remarks from Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who was effusive in his praise of the nominee. Grassley noted that Sessions “knows the Department better than any nominee for Attorney General in recent memory,” adding, “He's a man of integrity. He's a man of his word. And he'll enforce the law, regardless of whether he would've supported passage of that law as a legislator.”
Grassley’s words echo the sentiments expressed by others in Sessions’s confirmation hearing last month. During the hearing, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) remarked, “I can vouch confidently for the fact that Jeff Sessions is a person of integrity, a principled leader, and a dedicated public servant,” and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said of Sessions, “You're a good and decent and honorable man. You've got an outstanding record that you should be proud of, and I know you are and you should be.”
During that hearing Sessions made clear his devotion to the U.S. Constitution, noting in his opening statement that “the Justice Department must remain ever faithful to the Constitution’s promise that our government is one of laws, not of men.” Sessions went on to condemn efforts to use the Department of Justice for political purposes, as the Obama administration did in Operation Chokepoint, explaining that such behavior has “a corrosive effect on public confidence in the constitutional republic of which we are sworn to uphold.” When asked about his views on the Second Amendment, Sessions responded, “I do believe the Second Amendment is a personal right. It's an historic right of the American people, and the Constitution protects that and explicitly states that. It's just as much a part of the Constitution as any of the other great rights and liberties that we value.”
Of course, Sessions’s commitment to the Constitution and our right to keep and bear arms stretches far beyond his statements to the Judiciary Committee. During his 20-year career in the U.S. Senate, Sessions has compiled a sterling voting record on matters concerning Second Amendment rights. Sessions has also been a vocal advocate for stringent enforcement of existing federal gun laws against violent criminals. Moreover, as ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, Sessions led the effort to challenge Barack Obama’s U.S. Supreme Court nominees on their records concerning the Second Amendment.
Through his words and deeds, Sessions has earned the support of every NRA member. However, as evidenced by Sessions’s contentious confirmation hearing and the delay in his Judiciary Committee vote, some will stop at nothing to halt Sessions’s confirmation, if only to stymie President Trump.
That is why gun rights supporters must take action to ensure that Sessions is confirmed as U.S. Attorney General.