On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee is holding the first hearings for Donald Trump's cabinet nominations, beginning with the President-elect's choice for Attorney General, Jeff Sessions. Sessions served as the Attorney General of Alabama in 1994 and has served as a Republican Senator from the state since 1996.
Sessions's nomination has sparked controversy surrounding his record on civil rights, criminal justice reform, and immigration. In 1986, Ronald Reagan nominated Sessions for a a federal judgeship. His nomination was denied due, in large part, to witness testimonies that Sessions had said that the NAACP and American Civil Liberties Union were "un-American" for “trying to force civil rights down the throats of people.”
Before the hearing began this morning, protesters reportedly dressed as KKK members interrupted the proceedings. The hearing has been interrupted multiple times since, as one member of the audience chanted, "No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist U.S.A."
On Wednesday, Senator Cory Booker, a Democrat from New Jersey, will testify against Sessions because of his civil rights record. Representative John Lewis, a civil rights hero and Democrat from Georgia, is also scheduled to speak against Sessions's nomination.
During his testimony, Jeff Sessions reiterated his position on prosecuting laws regarding adult obscenity and pornography. "Those laws are clear and they are being prosecuted and should be continued to be effectively and vigorously prosecuted," Sessions said, before mentioning that he "would consider" reestablishing unit dedicated to prosecuting crimes of adult obscenity.
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham asked Sessions what it felt like to labeled a racist. Before he could answer, Sessions was interrupted by protesters, who were removed from the hearing. "It was very painful," Sessions said about the campaigns against his federal judgeship appointment in 1986. "The caricature that was created of me was not accurate then and it is not accurate now."