Witnesses Testify About Sen. Jeff Sessions In Confirmation Hearing

Witnesses Testify About Sen. Jeff Sessions In Confirmation Hearing
  1. Witnesses Testify About Sen. Jeff Sessions In Confirmation Hearing
    Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: On Capitol Hill today, lawmakers debated the record of Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions. Law enforcement and civil liberties groups disagreed over whether Sessions is qualified to lead the Justice Department. In a moment, we'll hear from Democratic Senator Cory Booker, who testified against Sessions' nomination. First, NPR's Carrie Johnson has this report on today's hearing. CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: More than 50 years ago, civil…
Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


On Capitol Hill today, lawmakers debated the record of Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions. Law enforcement and civil liberties groups disagreed over whether Sessions is qualified to lead the Justice Department. In a moment, we'll hear from Democratic Senator Cory Booker, who testified against Sessions' nomination. First, NPR's Carrie Johnson has this report on today's hearing.

CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: More than 50 years ago, civil rights hero John Lewis risked his life marching for the right to vote on a bridge in Selma, Ala.


JOHN LEWIS: We've come a distance. We've made progress, but we're not there yet. There are forces that want to take us back to another place. We don't want to go back. We want to go forward.

JOHNSON: Lewis told the Senate Judiciary Committee he worries when he hears Jeff Sessions talk about a return to law and order. His fear - if Sessions becomes the attorney general, will he bring back the kind of law and order Lewis protested in the 1960s? David Cole, legal director for the ACLU, advised lawmakers to consider Sessions' record.


DAVID COLE: When the Supreme Court gutted the single most effective provision of the Voting Rights Act - the most important statute in getting African-Americans the right to vote in this country - Senator Sessions called that a good day for the South.

JOHNSON: But William Smith, who worked for Sessions on Capitol Hill, attested to his old boss's character.


WILLIAM SMITH: After 20 years of knowing Senator Sessions, I have not seen the slightest evidence of racism because it does not exist. I know a racist when I see one, and I've seen more than one, but Jeff Sessions is not one.

JOHNSON: Former U.S. Attorney General…

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