President-Elect Donald Trump has offered Alabama senator Jeff Sessions the role of Attorney General.
“It is an honor to nominate U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions to serve as Attorney General of the United States,” said President-elect Trump in a press release. “Jeff has been a highly respected member of the U.S. Senate for 20 years. He is a world-class legal mind and considered a truly great Attorney General and U.S. Attorney in the state of Alabama. Jeff is greatly admired by legal scholars and virtually everyone who knows him.”
Sessions has been an avid supporter of Trump since before his presidential campaign and it was expected that he would be offered a cabinet role.
“I am humbled to have been asked by President-elect Trump to serve as Attorney General of the United States,” said U.S. Senator Sessions in the same release. “My previous 15 years working in the Department of Justice were extraordinarily fulfilling. I love the Department, its people and its mission. I can think of no greater honor than to lead them. With the support of my Senate colleagues, I will give all my strength to advance the Department’s highest ideals. I enthusiastically embrace President-elect Trump’s vision for ‘one America,’ and his commitment to equal justice under law. I look forward to fulfilling my duties with an unwavering dedication to fairness and impartiality.”
So who is Jeff Sessions?
Jeff Sessions was born in Selma, Alabama on December 24, 1946 and attended Huntingdon College in Montgomery, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1969. He received a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Alabama in 1973.
Sessions served in the United States Army Reserve from 1973 to 1986, according to his biography.
He served two years as assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama (1975-1977), Sessions was nominated by President Reagan in 1981 and confirmed by the Senate to serve as the United States Attorney for Alabama’s Southern District,which he held for 12 years.
Sessions is not without controversy. When Reagan nominated Sessions to be a federal district court judge, issues over race arose.
In 1986, testimony before Congress questioned Sessions’ views on race.
One African-American federal prosecutor testified Sessions had called him “boy” and said the KKK was “okay until I found out they smoked pot,” according to records obtained by The New York Times.
That prosecutor was Thomas Figures, a relative of Senator Vivian Figures.
Sessions said the comments were “made in jest.”
He was also accused of saying white attorneys disgraced their race by representing black clients.
Sessions denied the testimony saying what was said was not an accurate representation of the conversation he had.
Ultimately that testimony caused him that nomination, but he went on to be Alabama Attorney General in 1995 for two years.
In 1997, he entered the Senate. He’s known for being especially tough on budgets and finances, believes in a strong military and a small government.
Sessions was elected to the Senate for a fourth term in 2014 by a landslide with more than 97 percent of all votes cast.
Some of the acts he touts as success are opening up 8.3 million acres of land in the Gulf of Mexico which yielded 1.3 billion barrels of oil and 6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and working for federal funding to reduce the backlog in crime cases including ballistics, blood, and DNA tests. He also worked to secure more benefits for families of fallen soldiers.
He attends Ashland Place United Methodist Church is Mobile and is a resident of Mobile and is married with three children and seven grandchildren.
Should he accept, he will be the 84th Attorney General.
Alabama officials offer congratulations:
Friday morning, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange issued the following statement regarding Sessions’ nomination:
Today I want to congratulate Jeff Sessions on his nomination to be our nation’s Attorney General. Senator Sessions is a credit to our state and to our nation, and I know that he will make us all proud in his new role where he will be a champion for the rule of law.
From the day Jeff Sessions stepped foot on the floor of the United States Senate, he has never forgotten where he came from or who he represents. He has worked tirelessly for the people of Alabama, fighting to bring home jobs and economic development, to secure our borders, and to ensure that our military men and women receive all the support they need to succeed—whether on the battlefield, in a veterans’ hospital, or in their civilian lives. He leaves very big shoes to fill.
There will be a time to decide who will try to fill those shoes, but that is for another day. Today is about Jeff Sessions, the legacy he leaves behind, and the good work for our country we know he is yet to achieve. In his new role, I join all Alabamians in wishing him good luck and Godspeed.
Senator Sessions, you make us proud.”
There has been speculation that Strange could benefit from the nomination of Sessions because it would mean an open Senate in Alabama. Several names have been floated for the position including Luther Strange.
If Sessions were to officially become the Attorney General, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley would then appoint someone to fill the position in an interim term before a special election can be held statewide.
Gov. Bentley says he has spoken with Sessions several times this week about his potential replacement.
Bentley said Thursday that he wants the next senator “to be as conservative as Senator Sessions, to be very much like him.”
The Republican governor says he also wants the person to support the agenda of incoming president Donald Trump.
Bentley talked about a potential replacement in a press release Friday morning, “this person must uphold the Constitution, value the rights of the Second Amendment, the rights of the states, support pro-life issues, implement a strong national security policy and support domestic job creation.”
A spokeswoman for the governor said this week that Bentley had already been approached by multiple people seeking the appointment.
Another name that has also been mentioned for the Senate opening is current U.S. Representative Bradley Byrne (R-AL 1) and he also issued a statement Friday morning:
I have known Jeff Sessions for almost 40 years, and he has always been a person of the highest level of integrity. As a U.S. Attorney in Mobile, Senator Sessions led the charge to clean up corruption in our local government. He earned respect from everyone in our community by always conducting himself in a professional and fair way.
In the Senate, Senator Sessions has a clear track record of defending the law and advocating for a smaller, less invasive federal government. Just as important, he has always been willing to partner with other members of our Congressional delegation to support Alabama projects and priorities.
The people of Alabama will miss the service and leadership of Jeff Sessions, but I have no doubt he will be an excellent Attorney General for the United States.”