WASHINGTON — Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, who has been nominated by President-elect Donald Trump to serve as United States attorney general, told a congressional panel on Tuesday during his confirmation hearing that while he disagrees with Supreme Court rulings on abortion and homosexuality, he concedes that the decisions are the “law of the land” and will uphold them accordingly.
“You have referred to Roe v. Wade as ‘one of the worst, colossally erroneous Supreme Court decisions of all time,’” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, noted. “Is that still your view?”
“It is,” Sessions replied. “I believe it violated the Constitution, and really attempted to set policy and not follow law.”
But, he added, “It is the law of the land. It has been so established and settled for quite a long time. It deserves respect, and I would respect it and follow it.”
When asked later about the issue of same-sex “marriage,” Sessions said that he likewise disagreed with the Supreme Court on the matter, but will uphold the ruling regardless of his beliefs.
“[T]he president elect said that the issue of same-sex marriage was ‘already settled; it’s law. It was settled in the Supreme Court. It’s done, and I’m fine with that,'” Feinstein noted, quoting from remarks made by Donald Trump during a November interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes.”
She then asked Sessions, “Do you agree that the issue of same-sex marriage is settled law?”
“The Supreme Court has ruled on that. The dissents dissented vigorously, but it was 5-4, and five justices on the Supreme Court. The majority of the court has established the definition of marriage for the entire United States of America, and I will follow that decision,” he replied.
Feinstein then inquired how Sessions believes that Obergefell v. Hodges is the law, but Roe v. Wade is not.
“I haven’t said that a woman’s right to choose or Roe v. Wade and its progeny is not the law of the land or not clear today, so I would follow that law,” he contended.
Sessions had also been asked if he would ensure that rape exceptions under the Hyde Amendment—which prohibits federal funds from being used for abortion—are upheld, such as in cases when the woman becomes pregnant as a result of sex trafficking. He likewise replied that he would follow the law in such cases.
According to reports, Sessions serves as a Sunday school teacher at Ashland Place United Methodist Church in Mobile, Alabama.