Questions that Must Be Answered

January 10, 2017

Dear friends,

All eyes are on the Senate this week as it begins holding confirmation hearings for Donald Trump’s cabinet picks.

Nomination after nomination has raised serious concerns about the many threats posed by a Trump administration and the people he wants to appoint to high-level positions. Perhaps one of the most concerning is Trump’s choice for Attorney General, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL).

The Attorney General is the nation’s TOP law enforcement officer. The thought of Senator Sessions at the helm should be deeply disturbing to everyone. From civil rights to women’s rights, immigration and criminal justice reform, Sessions has an abysmal record on issues that are fundamental to a fair and equal justice system. This is a person who was once quoted as saying he thought the Klu Klux Klan was OK until “I found out they smoked pot.”

Today he will face the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Unfortunately, as a member of the House of Representatives, I can’t participate in Senator Sessions’ hearing or vote on his confirmation, but I’m fighting against his appointment. I’m urging Senators to ask Sessions tough questions, because I think he will fail the test if pressed.

Here are some of my questions for Senator Sessions:

  • In the past, the Senate found you ineligible for a federal judgeship because of your hateful, racially-charged comments. What in your record has changed to make you qualify this time – and for an even more powerful office as top law enforcer with a responsibility to protect the civil rights of all
  • How will you enforce federal voting rights laws to protect the universal right to vote for all eligible voters? 
  • Will you protect Muslims – and people of all faiths – from discrimination? 
  • Will you protect the LGBTQ community from discrimination?
  • Will you defend Roe v. Wade and a woman’s legal right to make decisions about her health and body?
  • Will you ensure due process for immigrants and protect them from racial profiling and illegal detention?
  • Will you protect DREAMers, those brought to the United States as children, who put their faith in us by registering in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program?
  • Will you put your personal feelings aside on the legalization of adult use and medical use of marijuana and respect the 10th amendment and states’ rights to establish their own policies regarding cannabis?
  • How do you plan to address our overcrowded prison system when you have historically objected to bipartisan sentencing reform, including reduced prison sentences for certain non-violent crimes?
  • Will you enforce the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution to make sure that Donald Trump does not put personal and business interests over those of the American people?

The American people deserve answers to these questions. The Senate should do its job and ask them – and then, we should all hold Sessions accountable. He should NOT be confirmed as Attorney General.


Earl Blumenauer