January 12, 2017

Hirono to oppose Sessions nomination for Attorney General

Cites prosecutorial discretion, record on civil rights & a woman’s Constitutional right to an abortion

Senator Mazie K. Hirono, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced that she would vote against the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) to serve as Attorney General.

From Senator Hirono’s remarks:

“Over the past two months, I’ve heard from hundreds of my constituents and a number of prominent civil rights organizations – including a number who testified yesterday – on this issue.

“I will vote against the nomination of Jeff Sessions to serve as Attorney General because I am deeply concerned about how he would use his prosecutorial discretion to uphold voting rights, protect civil rights, and protect a woman’s right to choose.”

Click here to download broadcast-quality video of Senator Hirono’s remarks

Senator Hirono’s full remarks below, as prepared for delivery:

I’ve served with Jeff Sessions throughout my time in the Senate and respect him as a colleague.

But I have deep concerns about how Senator Sessions would use his prosecutorial discretion as Attorney General to address a number of critical issues.

During his confirmation hearing, I pressed Senator Sessions for a commitment to vigorously protect every citizen’s right to vote, particularly with regard to Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act – which safeguards Americans from discriminatory voting laws.

He did not give me a satisfactory answer that he would scrutinize voting laws for discriminatory effect.

I also asked Senator Sessions whether he would honor the Department of Justice’s consent decrees that address police misconduct and enhance accountability.

Senator Sessions did not adequately assure me that his Department would uphold these agreements without revisiting or renegotiating these agreements.

I pressed Senator Sessions for a commitment to defend Roe v. Wade in federal court and to enforce laws that guarantee the constitutionally-protected right to choose.

Senator Sessions did not disavow his past comments that Roe v. Wade was one of the worst Supreme Court cases ever decided.

Should the Supreme Court be presented with a case that provides them the opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade, I asked him what he would direct his Solicitor General to do. He said this was hypothetical and didn’t respond.

Over the past two months, I’ve heard from hundreds of my constituents and a number of prominent civil rights organizations – including a number who testified yesterday – on this issue.

I will vote against the nomination of Jeff Sessions to serve as Attorney General because I am deeply concerned about how he would use his prosecutorial discretion to uphold voting rights, protect civil rights, and protect a woman’s right to choose.