Today, the senate judiciary committee is holding the first of many confirmation hearings that will occur over the coming weeks. Senator Jeff Sessions, Attorney General designate, is in the hot-seat. I am live tweeting the event at @JCNSeverino with commentary and fact checks. Live coverage can be viewed at http://www.wsj.com/livecoverage/hearings.
It has been an active morning so far. The biggest theme that has run throughout the hearings is Sessions’s pledge to enforce laws as written by our elected representatives regardless of whether he thinks they are good policy. Many of his colleagues, including some from across the aisle, remarked about their good working relationship in Congress, and it is easy to see why so many people regard him as a gentleman. The tone of the hearing has been one of civility and courtesy due in no small part to Sessions’s demeanor and candor. His remarks have been responsive and insightful even when addressing questions that were little more than attacks on his character and reputation.
He has also knocked down various straw-man arguments that his Senate colleagues have put forward.
He pledged to stand up to the president and resign if the president insisted that he support an unconstitutional position. He stated that the president could not and should not block all Muslims from immigrating on the basis of their religion. And he said that he would recuse himself from investigations of Hillary Clinton that he had commented on during the presidential campaign.
The hearing is proceeding smoothly despite various interruptions by protesters.