Setting the stage for bitter battles over civil, immigrant, LGBTQ, and women’s rights during the Trump administration, the Senate confirmed Jeff Sessions as attorney general on Wednesday evening.
The vote was 52-47 (roll call here), with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) breaking with his party to vote in Sessions’ favor and the nominee himself, who formerly represented Alabama, abstaining.
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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) immediately vowed to sue if Sessions, who will now head the Department of Justice, violates the U.S. Constitution.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), whose silenced testimony on the nominee led to a firestorm of resistance on Wednesday, also pledged to hold Sessions—and the Republicans who voted for him—accountable:
Following the vote, pro-democracy group Common Cause launched “Sessions Watch,” a grassroots effort “to hold Sessions’ feet to the civil liberties and voting rights fire.” Citizens can sign up “to receive immediate notice of the latest threats posed by the new attorney general and updates and bulletins on actions you can take.”
“The principle of equal justice under the law is now undermined by the confirmation of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General,” said Common Cause president Karen Hobart Flynn. “The actions of the Justice department under Sessions’ leadership will require careful monitoring based on his extensive record dating back decades but continuing right up to the present moment through his role in helping drive the policy priorities of the [Donald] Trump White House. At Common Cause, we will be keeping a close eye on the Justice Department to hold it accountable to the American people it is intended to serve.”
Similarly, the NAACP—whose president, along with several others, was arrested twice last month protesting Sessions—vowed to “call upon members of Congress and the committees over the Justice Department to ensure that the senator does what he is supposed to do to protect the vote and to end voter suppression and police brutality.”
Follow the resistance under the hashtag #SessionsWatch: