Senate confirms Sessions

Published 3:00 am Thursday, February 9, 2017

Sen. Jeff Sessions is finally the Attorney General of the United States after being confirmed to the position 52-47 by the Senate on Wednesday evening.

The confirmation of the Alabamian to one of the nation’s highest positions is a matter of pride for many Alabama Republicans, including prominent Republican leaders in Pike County.

“I am proud of Jeff Sessions. He has always been a very effective advocate for Alabama and was always responsive to the needs of our state,” said Pike County Probate Judge Wes Allen. “It is a great honor for an Alabamian to be chosen to serve as the next U.S. Attorney General.  He will do a fantastic job.”

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Republicans say Sessions has demonstrated over a long career in public service — and two decades in the Senate — that he possesses integrity, honesty and is committed to justice.

Bert Fridlin, treasurer of the Pike County Republican Party, said he doesn’t personally know Sessions too well, but that he seems like a good fit for the position.

“I’ve met and talked with him three or four times, but I don’t know him that well,” Fridlin said. “My general feeling is that he’s a good person and, as far as I know, he would uphold the law as a conservative.”

Sessions faced a long, hard journey to Wednesday’s confirmation, which took over two weeks since his appointment on the day of President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Along the way, Sessions faced criticism from Democrats over his record on civil rights, immigration, voter identification laws and simply his closeness to Trump on the campaign trail.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren made headline son Tuesday when she attempted to read a decades old letter by Coretta Scott King, wife of Martin Luther King Jr., criticizing Sessions’s record on voting rights for black people.

“The Democrats are just playing politics,” Fridlin said. “I think the whole thing with Elizabeth Warren yesterday wasn’t really a political situation though. That was dealing more with Senate rules. They warned her before and that’s when they made the motion. Politically, it helps Warren more than it does Republicans. I can see why they did it though.”

Either way, Fridlin said it wouldn’t have affected Wednesday’s outcome.

“The outcome of Sessions being confirmed would have happened no matter what happened last night,” Fridlin said.

Sessions’s confirmation also brings up the question of who will fill the now-vacant Senate seat.

Some names that have come up for the position include Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, state Sen. Del Marsh; state Reps. Robert Aderholt, Perry Hooper Jr. and Connie Rowe and Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs Director Jim Byard.

Strange is considered a leading candidate for the job since Bentley interviewed potential replacements for state attorney general, according to people close to the process. However, Bentley’s office has said he has not made a decision.