New Jersey Senator Cory Booker to Challenge Sessions on Immigration, Civil Rights

Mary Clare Jalonick, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Democrats will challenge President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for attorney general, Sen. Jeff Sessions, when he appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee over his hard-line stand on immigration, past record on civil rights and whether he supports community policing.

The Alabama lawmaker is known as one of the most staunchly conservative members of the Senate, and has already drawn opposition from at least two Democrats, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown.

In a dramatic turn, Booker — one of three black senators — said he will testify against Sessions on Wednesday, marking a rare instance in which a senator has testified against a colleague seeking a Cabinet post. In a statement, Booker accused Sessions of having a “concerning” record on civil rights and criminal justice reform and called his decision “a call to conscience.”

Democrats don’t have the power to block Sessions’ nomination since Republicans control the Senate and only need a simple majority to confirm the four-term senator. However, they can use the two days of confirmation hearings beginning Tuesday to cast Sessions as out of the mainstream on issues critical to the party’s core voters — Hispanics, African Americans and women — ahead of the 2018 election cycle.

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