WASHINGTON — Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, who had been nominated by President Donald Trump, was confirmed Wednesday night to serve as U.S. attorney general—making Sessions the leader of the U.S. Department of Justice, whose constitutional duty it is to protect and defend all Americans, including the unborn.
He was approved 52-47 mostly along partly lines, with one Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, supporting his nomination.
As previously reported, Sessions had stated during his confirmation hearing last month that while he believes Roe v. Wade is unconstitutional, he would respect and follow it as attorney general.
“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.”
Sessions repeated the sentiment when later asked by Feinstein why he doesn’t think Roe is the law.
“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.
However, following Sessions remarks, some expressed disappointment, including Josh Hammer of the Daily Wire.
“Jeff Sessions, who will soon be the chief law enforcement officer representing one-third of the federal government, should not think of Roe v. Wade—or its misbegotten progeny, such as 1992’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey or last term’s Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt—as being the unchallengeable ‘law of the land,'” he wrote.
Hammer pointed to statements from James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln, who opposed judicial supremacy, and noted that rulings like the 1857 decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford—which upheld slavery and denied Scott the right to live free—were wrong.
“In standing with the founders, Lincoln, and the unborn alike by pledging to refuse to enforce Roe and its progeny as binding legal precedent—and thereby opposing the fallacious doctrine of judicial supremacy—Trump and Sessions would find themselves, as the Left might phrase it, on ‘the right side of history,'” he opined.
As previously reported, during his confirmation hearing, Sessions also agreed to uphold Obergefell v. Hodges despite his views about same-sex “marriage.”
“[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.
Sessions’ nomination was hotly debated, as he was resisted by Democrats who accused him of having a racist past, an accusation that he denied. Republicans were largely supportive of Sessions, who is viewed as being conservative in belief.
“I appreciate the friendship from my colleagues—even those who, many of them who didn’t feel able to vote for me,” he said after being approved Wednesday night. “They were cordial, and so we continue to have good relations and will continue to do the best I can.”
According to reports, Sessions serves as a Sunday school teacher at Ashland Place United Methodist Church in Mobile, Alabama.