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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

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Sen. Stabenow Meets with Sessions, Says She Cannot Support His Nomination for Attorney General
(Democrat - Michigan) 01/19/17
Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) released a statement after meeting with Senator Jeff Sessions, President-Elect Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Justice: “Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet with Senator Jeff Sessions and ask some tough questions about his nomination to lead the Department of Justice. Because of his record on civil rights and his votes against anti-domestic violence legislation, I cannot support him to be our nation’s highest law enforcement officer. Families in Michigan and across the country deserve an Attorney General who will enforce the nation’s laws fairly and equally.”

Sens. Cruz, Cornyn Announce Application Process for Texas Judgeships and U.S. Attorney Positions
(Republican - Texas) 01/19/17
“The FJEC selection process ensures Texans have the best, most qualified federal judges and prosecutors serving them,” Sen. Cruz said. “Texas is blessed with many exceptional candidates with a deep respect for the rule of law, and I encourage them to pursue these important positions.” “As a former judge and Attorney General of Texas, I acutely understand the importance of ensuring that we have the best people sitting on the federal bench and enforcing federal law in Texas,” said Sen. Cornyn. “I encourage any qualified individuals interested in serving Texas in these roles to take the first step by submitting their information to the review committee.”

(Democrat - Minnesota) 01/18/17
“The President-elect’s high-level meetings last week underscore the importance of your commitment to ensuring the integrity and independence of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division, and I am asking the following questions to further explore your position on antitrust enforcement,” Klobuchar wrote. “What are the appropriate factors the Department of Justice should consider in deciding whether to bring an antitrust action? Would you please elaborate on your statement ‘there will not be political influence in the [antitrust enforcement] process’?,” Klobuchar continued. “Traditionally, the White House has not been involved in antitrust enforcement decisions. In your view, should the President have any communication about or involvement in antitrust cases?”

Sen. Casey Announces Voting Decision On Three Top Cabinet Nominees: DeVos, Sessions, and Pruitt All To Receive “No” Vote From PA Senator
(Democrat - Pennsylvania) 01/18/17
On Sessions: “I met with Senator Sessions and expressed to him my substantial concerns regarding his nomination to serve as our next Attorney General. On the critically important issue of voting rights, we have a fundamental disagreement on legislation to protect these voting rights. Senator Sessions and I discussed the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder at length. Senator Sessions celebrated the decision, which gutted the Voting Rights Act’s requirement that certain states and jurisdictions with histories of discrimination seek preclearance from the federal government before changing voting rules. Yet, more than half of these so-called preclearance states have implemented restrictive voting laws after the Shelby decision, some of which were proposed the very next day after it was handed down, and over 800 polling places in these states alone were closed since the decision as well. As a cosponsor of legislation to restore preclearance requirements, I believe Democrats and Republicans have an obligation to come together to ensure that all Americans have the full protection of the Voting Rights Act. In addition, Senator Sessions’ vote against a non-binding amendment simply expressing the sense of the Senate that immigrants should not be banned from this country based on their religion is offensive. After reviewing his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, his Senate record, his record as a prosecutor and meeting with him, I will vote against his nomination to be our next Attorney General.”

Sen. Leahy Releases Follow Up Questions To AG Nominee Sessions. . . Written Questions Sent Tuesday Focus On Violence Against Women Act, Conflicts Of Interest
(Democrat - Vermont) 01/17/17
Additionally on Tuesday, all nine Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee sent the nominee a letter [LINK] calling on him to allow investigations of Russia hacking to proceed and to recuse himself from those proceedings if he is confirmed. Senator Leahy’s written questions to Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions can be found online.

Senate Judiciary Democrats to Jeff Sessions: Don’t Block Russia Hack Investigation
(Democrat - California) 01/17/17
Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and all committee Democrats today called on Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), nominee for attorney general, to allow investigations of Russia hacking to proceed and to recuse himself from those proceedings. The letter poses two questions to Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the nominee to become attorney general: “Will you commit not to impede or shut down any FBI or Justice Department investigation into Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election?” “Will you commit to recuse yourself from any FBI or Justice Department investigation into Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election?” Full text of the letter follows:

Sen. Heitkamp concerns about Jeff Sessions Attorney General nomination
(Democrat - North Dakota) 01/14/17
[Sen. Jeff Sessions] voted against VAWA when it was reauthorized in 2013, when new provisions were included that made it easier to prosecute domestic violence against Native American women. “I’m really concerned about the position he took,” Heitkamp ... said in an interview. “The reason he gave was not very knowledgeable about what happens in Indian country and the Indian jurisdiction.” Heitkamp said she plans to follow up with Sessions to clarify his position regarding VAWA, which came up several times during his marathon confirmation hearing this week.

Sen. Kamala Harris will vote against Jeff Sessions Attorney General nomination
(Democrat - California) 01/14/17
"I have deep concerns about Jeff Sessions ability to defend the rights of all Americans -- I will be voting against his confirmation. We need an Attorney General committed to equal rights for all, including women, people of color, and the LGBT community. It is clear after his confirmation hearings that person is not Jeff Sessions, and that is why I oppose his confirmation as AG. If you agree, please add your name to our petition calling on my Senate colleagues to oppose Sessions as well:

Sen. McCaskill "just not sure" she can vote for Jeff Sessions Attorney General nomination
(Democrat - Missouri) 01/14/17
McCaskill said she has to figure out whether she can “get there” on voting for Sessions and “I’m just not sure I can.” “I’m really worried about a lot of his votes. [His vote] against the Violence Against Women Act is really concerning to me,” McCaskill said. “I mean, the Department of Justice has taken such a leadership role on that issue over the years, and him voting no on it, you know, it’s just hard for me to get past that.”

Sen. Donnelly has concerns about Jeff Sessions Attorney General nomination
(Democrat - Indiana) 01/14/17
Donnelly has “concerns” about Sessions’ nomination, an aide said. The Indiana senator met with Sessions on Thursday.

Sens. Klobuchar, Franken will say no to AG nominee Sessions
(Democrat - Minnesota) 01/13/17
"His record and views on critical issues of justice including the Violence Against Women Act, immigration, voting rights and freedom of the press have led me to conclude that I cannot support his nomination," Klobuchar said in a statement to the Star Tribune today. "The 2013 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act was supported by the vast majority of senators as well as every Democratic and Republican woman senator ... Sen. Sessions voted against it."

(Democrat - Wisconsin) 01/13/17
“America has made great progress over the last eight years with an Administration that has taken seriously a shared responsibility to pass on to the next generation a country that is more equal, not less equal. “Every American citizen deserves a government that is as good as they are and they are right to demand that our Attorney General, and our Department of Justice, are committed to the principle that racism, discrimination, and hate-based crimes will not be tolerated in America. All Americans also deserve a strong commitment from our Attorney General, America’s top law enforcement official, to act on violence borne out of hatred based on race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other characteristic. It’s also very important to me that we have an Attorney General who will be a strong supporter of constitutional rights. At a time when voting rights and the constitutional right of women to make their own, personal reproductive health care decisions are under attack across our country, we need an Attorney General who will stay true to these constitutional freedoms and not be driven by politics. “For me, the vote on Senator Jeff Sessions’ confirmation to be our next United States Attorney General is a moral choice guided by my strong belief that all Americans deserve equal opportunity and the freedom to pursue their hopes and dreams. That is the promise of America and I have committed myself and my life’s work to make sure we keep it. After meeting with Senator Sessions, I cannot support his confirmation to be our next Attorney General because I don’t have faith that he shares these beliefs and that he will embrace these commitments, and our shared responsibility to move our nation forward for all Americans.”

Sen. Franken "will be voting no on Senator Sessions for attorney general."
(Democrat - Minnesota) 01/13/17
"The Attorney General of the United States must be committed to protecting the rights of all Americans, especially those most vulnerable to discrimination. After careful consideration of Sen. Sessions' record, I do not think he is the best man for the job. I cannot vote for an attorney general who is not fully committed to equal justice for the LGBT community, minorities, immigrants, and women, and Sen. Sessions' answers failed to reassure me that he will be an attorney general for all Americans. I will be voting no on Senator Sessions for attorney general."

Sen. Markey Statement on Nomination of Jeff Sessions to be Attorney General
(Democrat - Massachusetts) 01/13/17
“When the nomination of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, III to be Attorney General of the United States reaches the floor of the United States Senate, I will be voting no. I have heard from and listened to the thousands of my constituents who have contacted my office with fears about a Justice Department headed by Senator Sessions. I have told them that Senator Sessions must be judged based on the totality of his record. A review of that record, including two days of hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, demonstrates anything but the type of commitment to the equal and impartial administration of justice that we must demand from the nation’s top law enforcement officer. “Senator Sessions’s record as a United States Attorney, Alabama’s Attorney General, and United States Senator reflects hostility to important Constitutional rights intended to protect people of color, women, the LGBTQ community, and immigrants against discrimination and violence. Senator Sessions has fought against civil rights efforts, against protecting voting rights, against comprehensive immigration and criminal justice reform, against commonsense gun control measures, and against a woman’s right to choose. “Based on the totality of Senator Sessions’s record, I have no confidence that he shares a commitment to justice for all Americans or that he will fight to defend the most vulnerable in our society. I will be voting no on Senator Sessions’s nomination.”

Senator Coons Announces Opposition to Senator Sessions’ Nomination for Attorney General
(Democrat - Delaware) 01/13/17
“After reviewing Senator Sessions’ decades-long record and participating in a thorough Judiciary Committee hearing, and after also hearing from many Delawareans, I have decided that I will vote against President-elect Trump’s nomination of Senator Sessions to serve as our nation’s next Attorney General. “I have served alongside Senator Sessions for six years, and during that time, we have worked together constructively on several criminal justice issues, including support for local law enforcement, reauthorization of the Victims of Child Abuse Act and restoration of funding to the Federal Public Defender Service. On many more issues, however, including several that are core to my view of justice, Senator Sessions has vigorously opposed bipartisan reform efforts. “Any President deserves some latitude in picking nominees who support their principles, but on many important issues, including voting rights, civil rights, sentencing reform, LGBT rights, domestic violence protections, immigration reform, religious freedom, civil liberties, and torture, Senator Sessions has actively opposed bipartisan efforts to advance justice. While I believe Senator Sessions will uphold the law, even those he disagrees with, the role of Attorney General is bigger than that. I am concerned that Senator Sessions’ record as a prosecutor and an elected official demonstrates that on too many occasions he did not take action when there was an opportunity to stand up for the vulnerable, promote civil rights, or advance justice. “Today, the battle for equality continues in America, and our Attorney General cannot simply watch the march of history pass him by. After carefully reviewing and considering his 30 years of public service, I do not believe that Sen. Sessions has taken sufficient action to demonstrate his commitment to lead the Department of Justice’s important work for all Americans.”

Sen. Cortez Masto Statement Opposing AG Nominee Jeff Sessions
(Democrat - California) 01/12/17
"As a former Attorney General and a former federal prosecutor, I take very seriously the important role that our nation’s top law enforcement officer plays in our system of government. That’s why I remain deeply concerned about the President-elect’s choice of Senator Sessions to lead the Department of Justice. I am troubled by the controversial and racially insensitive rhetoric Senator Sessions has used in the past, as well as his far-right positions on issues ranging from immigration and criminal justice reform to civil rights and voting rights. This is not personal – it is about his record and his views. As the next Attorney General, Senator Sessions would have enormous prosecutorial discretion, and his record in public office indicates to me that he often hasn’t recognized the humanity of the people hurt by his extreme positions, whether it’s undocumented immigrants or the African American community or LGBT Americans. After an ugly and divisive election season, many of my constituents in Nevada are fearful about what lies ahead. They deserve an Attorney General who they can trust to vigorously defend their rights and uphold our laws with impartiality. At a time when our nation needs to come together and heal, Senator Sessions is not the right choice to lead the DOJ and I cannot support this nomination."

Sen. Heinrich will vote against the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions to serve as Attorney General
(Democrat - New Mexico) 01/12/17
"I will vote against the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions to serve as Attorney General. Now more than ever, this position will require courage and an unwavering commitment to protect Americans' constitutional rights and to stand up against discrimination and hate. Like the thousands of New Mexicans I've heard from in recent days, I lack that confidence in Senator Sessions."

Sen. Hirono to oppose Sessions nomination for Attorney General
(Democrat - Hawaii) 01/12/17
“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."

Sen. Blumenthal Announces Opposition to Nomination of U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions to be Attorney General
(Democrat - Connecticut) 01/12/17
“After reviewing Senator Sessions’ record and reflecting on his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, I have come to the conclusion that I cannot support his nomination to be Attorney General of the United States. At his confirmation hearing, Senator Sessions said simply that he would follow the law. But the Attorney General of the United States must be more than a follower. He must be a leader committed to fighting for civil rights and liberties and the active pursuit of justice,” Blumenthal said. “Senator Sessions has failed to convince me that he will be a champion of constitutional rights: voting rights, women’s health care and privacy rights, and anti-discrimination protections. Rather, he has demonstrated hostility and antipathy – even downright opposition – to these bedrock Constitutional principles. He has prided himself on his vociferous opposition to comprehensive immigration reform – legislation that passed the Senate with 68 bipartisan votes. He staunchly opposed a criminal justice reform bill that has attracted a group of 25 cosponsors, Democrats and Republicans. He even split with the majority of his own party to vote against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. Indeed, his career demonstrates a prevailing hostility to the very rights and liberties that the nation’s chief law enforcement officer must always promote and defend. Equally important, I have no confidence he will be the independent, non-political enforcer the nation needs – at a moment when the incoming Administration faces ethical and legal controversies that are unprecedented in scope and scale in our history.”

Sen. Daines: Sessions Will Uphold Rule of Law as AG
(Republican - Montana) 01/12/17
Senator Steve Daines today released the following statement after meeting with President-elect Donald J. Trump’s designee for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions. “I know Jeff Sessions to be a kind-hearted man that stays true to his word and honors the commitment to the rule of law,” Daines stated. “In his new role as Attorney General, I have confidence that he will faithfully defend the Constitution and enforce the law – principles that were too often lacking during the Obama administration.”

Sen. Schumer Announces Opposition to Senator Sessions for Attorney General
(Democrat - New York) 01/12/17
“After reviewing his record and giving careful consideration to his answers during the hearing, I am not confident in Senator Sessions’ ability to be a defender of the rights of all Americans, or to serve as an independent check on the incoming administration," Schumer said. "I am also deeply concerned by his views on immigration, which I saw firsthand during the push for comprehensive immigration reform. For those reasons, I will oppose his nomination to serve as the next Attorney General.”

Sen. Rubio Announces Support for Jeff Sessions as Next Attorney General
(Republican - Florida) 01/11/17
"Serving with Jeff Sessions over the past six years, I've seen him work relentlessly to uphold the rule of law against the abuses of the Obama Administration, particularly at the Department of Justice. Jeff is a formidable lawyer with an intense passion for defending the Constitution – two of the many qualities that will serve him well as attorney general of the United States. Jeff understands the threats our nation faces, including radical Islamic terrorists within our borders and illicit drugs destroying our communities. I am confident he will make protecting our neighborhoods a top priority. For these reasons, I will support his nomination.”

Sen. Booker Judiciary Committee Testimony at Hearing on Attorney General Nomination
(Democrat - New Jersey) 01/11/17
"Senator Sessions has not demonstrated a commitment to a central requirement of the job – to aggressively pursue the congressional mandate of civil rights, equal rights, and justice for all. In fact, at numerous times in his career, he has demonstrated a hostility toward these convictions, and has worked to frustrate attempts to advance these ideals."

Sen. Casey Statement on Sessions Nomination
(Democrat - Pennsylvania) 01/11/17
“I have significant concerns regarding U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions’ nomination to serve as Attorney General, the nation’s top law enforcement officer and chief guardian of civil rights. On the critically important issue of voting rights, I am deeply troubled by his record as a federal prosecutor and a U.S. Senator. As a cosponsor of the Voting Rights Advancement Act, I believe Democrats and Republicans have an obligation to come together to ensure that all Americans have the full protection of the Voting Rights Act. His vote against a non-binding amendment simply expressing the sense of the Senate that immigrants should not be banned from this country based on their religion is offensive. I plan to meet with Senator Sessions next week to discuss his nomination.”

Sen. Duckworth "serious concerns" with Jeff Sessions Attorney General nominaton
(Democrat - Illinois) 01/10/17
"I want Senator Jeff Sessions to receive a fair confirmation hearing, but I also have serious concerns regarding his nomination for Attorney General. I am concerned about confirming someone for this important role who has called protections for people with disabilities ‘unnecessary’ and even ‘dangerous. I am concerned about the kind of enforcement our Department of Justice will pursue if its leader has consistently criticized policies that ensure schools reasonably accommodate and educate students with disabilities. I am concerned about what will happen to citizens with disabilities, citizens with different racial backgrounds, citizens with different sexual orientations and other marginalized Americans if their Attorney General has made a career opposing laws that protect them from discrimination and hate crimes."

Sen. Cory Booker To Testify Against Jeff Sessions: It’s ‘A Call To Conscience’
(Democrat - New Jersey) 01/10/17
“I do not take lightly the decision to testify against a Senate colleague,” Booker said in a statement. “But the immense powers of the attorney general combined with the deeply troubling views of this nominee is a call to conscience.”... “Senator Sessions’ decades-long record is concerning in a number of ways, from his opposition to bipartisan criminal justice reform to his views on bipartisan drug policy reform, from his efforts earlier in his career to deny citizens voting rights to his criticism of the Voting Rights Act, from his failure to defend the civil rights of women, minorities and LGBT Americans to his opposition to common-sense, bipartisan immigration reform,” Booker said. “The attorney general is responsible for ensuring the fair administration of justice, and based on his record, I lack confidence that Senator Sessions can honor this duty.”