In a hearing otherwise hallmarked by spin, misdirection, and character assassination, Senator John Cornyn, R-Texas (F, 42%) brought some much-needed clarity to the packed Judiciary Committee room on Wednesday.
“I can’t believe that, in spite of the fact that we’ve had a national election, that the election is still ongoing,” Cornyn said in his opening remarks.
The No. 2 Republican in charge was referring to the second day of the attorney general confirmation hearing for Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. (C, 78%), which quickly turned into little more than a platform to cast aspersion on the A.G. nominee.
One after the other, Democrat-selected witnesses from organizations like the ACLU and the NAACP, and even a DACA recipient, talked about their feelings and made political hay out of Sessions’ voting record on issues like voter ID, immigration, expansion of the Violence Against Aomen Act, and others.
“It’s amazing to me that with a senator having cast 6,000 votes in the United States Senate, that we’re focused on a handful of policy differences. And somehow people are saying that those are dispositive of the qualifications of a person who we’ve served alongside of,” Cornyn said of such attempts.
“Frankly,” the Texas senator continued, “the descriptions we’ve heard today are so wildly disparate that I would imagine, for people who didn’t know Senator Sessions and didn’t know his record as I do and as those who have served with him, it would be hard to reconcile.”
Sen. Cornyn’s got a point. There is a difference between a legislator and legislation enforcer. The latter’s job is to fulfil the wishes of the body politic as an agent of the nation’s chief executive, to faithfully execute the laws of the federal government passed by the Congress. Somebody boasting anything remotely approaching the prosecutorial bona fides as Jeff Sessions would certainly understand the difference here.
Plucking heartstrings on the faithful execution of legislative duty to attack the president-elect’s candidate for attorney general is nothing short of a leftist smear tactic that willfully ignores the proper roles of public officials prescribed by the Constitution.
During his testimony the previous day, Sen. Sessions repeatedly addressed this point:
Theme of hearing so far: Sessions opposed law or policy. It passed anyways. Sessions issues refrain: Law has been passed; I'll uphold it...
— Robyn Greene (@Robyn_Greene) January 10, 2017
Put simply, the witch-hunt tactic employed before the Judiciary Committee this week has been the same one conservatives have been dealing with for years: That is, “Either agree with my pet policy or be labeled a bigot [racist, mysoginist, some kind of o-phobe, etc.].”
It is the duty of a senator to vote against policies that he and his constituency view as bad; if he fails to do that, he won’t be back in the chamber after the next. If an attorney general fails to faithfully enforce standing law, he or she can always be impeached by Congress. That’s how it’s supposed to work. Trying to disqualify Sen. Jess Sessions for the latter, because he adequately did the former, is dishonest and pathetic.
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Nate Madden is a Staff Writer for Conservative Review, focusing on religious freedom, jihadism, and the judiciary. He previously served as the Director of Policy Relations for the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative. A Publius Fellow, John Jay Fellow, Citadel Parliamentary Fellow and National Journalism Center alumnus, Nate’s writing has previously appeared in several religious and news publications. Follow him @NateMaddenCR and on Facebook.