New Mexico’s Martin Heinrich became one of the first members of the United States Senate to announce his plan to vote against President-elect Trump’s embattled attorney general nominee, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions.
Heinrich made his announcement on Facebook after two days of high-profile nomination hearings in which Sen. Cory Booker and civil rights legend Congressman John Lewis took the unusual step of testifying in committee against a nominee.
Sessions is also actively opposed by a long list of civil rights organizations who cite, among other things, his prosecution of voting rights activists in Alabama during his term as US Attorney.
Last week, Albuquerque City Councilors Ike Benton, Pat Davis and Diane Gibson wrote a letter to Senators Udall and Heinrich expressing concerns about Sessions’ and the role of DOJ oversight of police reform efforts like those underway in Albuquerque, Chicago and Ferguson.
Read more: Albuquerque City Councilors Express Concerns about Attorney General Nominee Jeff Sessions; City Councilors Isaac Benton, Pat Davis, and Diane Gibson send letter to United States Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich
Heinrich is joined by at least 13 other progressive Senate leaders — including Sen. Min. Leader Chuch Schumer, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Al Franken and newly-elected California Senator Kamala Harris – who have also announced their intent to vote against Sessions.
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According to The Hill newspaper, other Senators expressed similar concerns as Heinrich in opposing Sessions’ nomination:
Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.): Schumer said he is “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.”
Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.): Booker testified against Sessions noting the “ next Attorney General must bring hope and healing to our country, and this demands a more courageous empathy than Senator Sessions’ record demonstrates.”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.): Blumenthal said that he did not believe Sessions would be “non-political,” adding that he “failed to convince me that he will be a champion of constitutional rights.”
Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio): Brown appeared to be the first Democrat to formally say they will vote against Sessions. He said he has “serious concerns that Senator Sessions’ record on civil rights is at direct odds with the task of promoting justice and equality for all.”
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (Ill.): Duckworth, a disabled Iraq War veteran, said “we have a nominee who’s on record speaking up against disability issues.”
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.): The Senate’s first Latina senator said that she is “troubled by the controversial and racially insensitive rhetoric Senator Sessions has used in the past, as well as his far-right positions.”
Sen. Mazie Hirono (Hawaii): Hirono, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said she is “deeply concerned about how he would use his prosecutorial discretion to uphold voting rights, protect civil rights and protect a woman’s rights to choose.”
Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.): The freshman senator launched a petition opposing Sessions after his hearing, writing “we need an Attorney General committed to equal rights for all, including women, people of color, and the LGBT community.”
Sen. Ed Markey (Mass.): Markey said he will vote against Sessions because he has “no confidence that [Sessions] shares a commitment to justice for all Americans or that he will fight to defend the most vulnerable in our society.”
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.): Klobuchar told the Star-Tribune that she will not support Sessions, pointing to his positions on the Violence Against Women Act, immigration, voting rights and freedom of the press.
Sen. Chris Coons (Del.): Coons said on a myriad of issues—including immigration, civil rights and torture—that Sessions has “actively opposed bipartisan efforts to advance justice.”
Sen. Tammy Baldwin (Wis.): Baldwin, the first openly gay candidate to be elected to the Senate, said her opposition to Sessions stemmed from a “moral choice” and that she doesn’t believe Sessions believes in “our shared responsibility to move our nation forward for all Americans.”