Sessions: Kagan Has The Least Experience Of Any Nominee In The Last Fifty Years, Conceivable A Filibuster Might Occur

Jeff Sessions is terribly concerned about Elena Kagan's "liberal leanings", claims that "she has the least experience of any nominee, at least in the
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Jeff Sessions is terribly concerned about Elena Kagan's "liberal leanings", claims that "she has the least experience of any nominee, at least in the last fifty years" and says that "if things come out that indicate she’s so far outside the mainstream--it’s conceivable a filibuster might occur."

Here he is with CBS's Bob Schieffer:

SCHIEFFER: Well, how far are you going to go with this? I mean, could a filibuster-- the option of-- of Republicans filibustering this nomination. Is that still on the table? Is that still possible?

SESSIONS: I think the first thing we need to decide is, is she committed to the rule of law even if she may not like the law? Will she as a judge subordinate herself to the constitution and keep her political views at bay? And then, secondly, if things come out that indicate she’s so far outside the mainstream--it’s conceivable a filibuster might occur. The Senate rule that our Democrats led us to establish was that you shouldn’t filibuster except in extraordinary circumstances. I think that’s a legitimate rule and that will be what I would judge as to whether a filibuster is necessary.

Of course there's no one I'd rather hear from about someone's qualifications to be nominated to any court than Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III who Rachel Maddow laid bare in this segment for his racist past. From Sessions' Wiki page:

In 1986, Reagan nominated Sessions to be a judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama. Sessions was actively backed by Alabama Senator Jeremiah Denton, a Republican. The nomination of Sessions was first sent to the Senate for confirmation on October 23, 1985, and was resubmitted on January 29, 1986. A substantial majority of the American Bar Association Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, which rates nominees to the federal bench, rated Sessions "qualified," with a minority voting that Sessions was "not qualified." [5]

At Sessions' confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, four Department of Justice lawyers who had worked with Sessions testified that he had made several racist statements. One of those lawyers, J. Gerald Hebert, testified that Sessions had referred to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) as "un-American" and "Communist-inspired" because they "forced civil rights down the throats of people."[6] Hebert said that Sessions had a tendency to "pop off" on such topics frequently and had once called a white civil rights lawyer who dealt with voting rights suits a "disgrace to his race."[7]

Thomas Figures, a black Assistant U.S. Attorney, testified that Sessions said he thought the Klan was "OK until I found out they smoked pot."[8] Figures also testified that on one occasion, when the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division sent the office instructions to investigate a case that Sessions had tried to close, Figures and Sessions "had a very spirited discussion regarding how the Hodge case should then be handled; in the course of that argument, Mr. Sessions threw the file on a table, and remarked, 'I wish I could decline on all of them,'" by which Figures said Sessions meant civil rights cases generally. After becoming Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee, Sessions was asked in an interview about his civil rights record as a U.S Attorney. He denied that he had not sufficiently pursued civil rights cases, saying that "when I was [a U.S. Attorney], I signed 10 pleadings attacking segregation or the remnants of segregation, where we as part of the Department of Justice, we sought desegregation remedies."[9]

Figures also said that Sessions had called him "boy." He also testified that "Mr. Sessions admonished me to 'be careful what you say to white folks.'"[10]

Sessions responded to the testimony by denying the allegations, saying his remarks were taken out of context or meant in jest, and also stating that groups could be considered un-American when "they involve themselves in un-American positions" in foreign policy. Sessions said during testimony that he considered the Klan to be "a force for hatred and bigotry." In regards to the marijuana quote, Sessions said the comment was a joke but apologized.[11]

The Republicans must be so proud to have this guy as their point man on judicial nominations. In the world of the Jeff Sessions out there, having even an inkling of liberal leanings is a mortal sin to maybe bring this extremely right wing court back to the center. Apparently for the GOP, putting out someone with Sessions background to question her qualifications isn't a problem, but her lack of experience as a judge is.

Quite frankly I'll take someone with Kagan's experience rather than the likes of a Jeff Sessions to be nominated to a high court any day of the week even though I'd prefer someone way to the left of Kagan. Anyone I'd be really happy with would probably never make it past a Republican filibuster.

It's too bad our media doesn't remind the public of what this man's background is when they bring him on for commentary such as this. If that were the case maybe Republicans would think twice before allowing racist hacks like Sessions to be nominated as their ranking member on the Judiciary Committee in the Senate.

Transcript via CBS below the fold.

SCHIEFFER: And, good morning, again. Senators Leahy and Sessions are with us in the studio this morning. And because she’s going to be covering the hearings and frankly because she knows a lot more about this than I do, our legal correspondent Jan Crawford is at the table as well.

Senator Sessions, I want to start with you because from almost from the hour that the President announced that he was going to nominate Elena Kagan to be his nominee to the Supreme Court, you have offered and your office has been putting out just a steady stream of press releases and comments questioning her qualifications. You have noted that her legal experience is very thin, that she’s a political operator--just almost every day something new. I want to ask you, are-- are you trying to block this nomination? And how far do you intend to take this?

SESSIONS: I-- I--

SCHIEFFER: Do you think she’s unqualified?

SESSIONS: I think this is a very important nomination. And she has the least experience of any nominee, at least in the last fifty years. And so, I think that raises questions and I’ve been using the phrase, you know, this is the confirmation not a coronation. Many were suggesting it’s just a done deal and the committee hearings would make no difference. But I think this nominee does have serious deficiencies, issues that need to be raised. The American people are concerned about their courts. They’re concerned about a growing expansive government that seems to be beyond anything they’ve ever seen before. And they’d like to know where-- what their judges might have to do about it. So, I think that’s kind of where we are.

SCHIEFFER: Well--

SESSIONS: And she’s entitled to a full and fair hearing. And-- and I’ve told Pat and the President she’ll get that and-- and I’m committed to that.

SCHIEFFER: Well, how far are you going to go with this? I mean, could a filibuster-- the option of-- of Republicans filibustering this nomination. Is that still on the table? Is that still possible?

SESSIONS: I think the first thing we need to decide is, is she committed to the rule of law even if she may not like the law? Will she as a judge subordinate herself to the constitution and keep her political views at bay? And then, secondly, if things come out that indicate she’s so far outside the mainstream--it’s conceivable a filibuster might occur. The Senate rule that our Democrats led us to establish was that you shouldn’t filibuster except in extraordinary circumstances. I think that’s a legitimate rule and that will be what I would judge as to whether a filibuster is necessary.

SCHIEFFER: At this point, do you think she’s unqualified?

SESSIONS: I think her nomination has real problems that need to be examined. I believe she’s entitled to a fair hearing and a chance to respond. But this nominee has a very thin record legally, never tried a case, never argued before a jury, only had her first appearance in the appellate courts a year ago. And, she just is not the kind of nominee you would normally expect to have. Of course, never been a judge. And so, this raises questions because her political instincts have been strong. She’s been aggressive in an issue after issue from the liberal side of the political issues.

SCHIEFFER: Senator Leahy, I’m-- I expect I don’t even have to ask you a question.

LEAHY: Well, you know, it’s-- it’s funny we’re talking about not being a judge. Of course, up until recent years, almost half the nominees, members of the Supreme Court, have not been judges. Bill Rehnquist who became Chief Justice-- Chief Justice William Rehnquist was not a judge. He came from the Nixon administration to go on to the Supreme Court. But then, some of the greats like Hugo Black and-- and Robert Jackson were not judges. So that’s-- that should not be a thing. In fact, right now, on the-- on the Supreme Court, there is only one member who is a trial judge and that’s Sonia Sotomayor. So it’s-- I-- I’m more interested in seeing what their qualifications are.

And now with-- with Elena Kagan, first woman to become dean of the Harvard Law School indicates her legal abilities. First woman to become solicitor general, who’s sometimes referred to as the tenth justice. And, she’s very good. But I-- I worry and I-- I told President Obama this that it’s reached the point that if he had-- if he had nominated Moses, the Lawgiver, some would have said we can’t have him because among other things he hasn’t produced a birth certificate.

I mean, let’s-- let’s look at the person-- let’s-- in fact, I got a sort of a half-hearted laugh out of the President on that one, but the-- let’s look at her qualifications. I mean, we can make all these charges in the back and she’s at a point where she can’t answer any of these because by tradition, as you know, they don’t say a word to the public or to the press after they’ve been nominated until the hearing. Starting tomorrow, she’ll have a chance to answer these. I think you’re going to see a brilliant woman, a brilliant legal mind, and you’re going to see somebody who is going to be the hundred and twelfth Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

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