The 70-year-old Alabama native was confirmed by a 52-47 vote largely along party lines. The New York Times reports every Republican voted in favor of Sessions, while every Democrat, except for West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, voted against him. It was another reflection of the country’s political division following Trump’s inauguration.
Immediately after the president announced his pick for attorney general, Democrats pointed to past allegations of discrimination by Sessions. Many expressed concerns that the Senator would not properly defend the rights of racial minorities, women, and the LGBT community.
“His record raises doubts about whether he can be a champion for those who need this office most and it also raises doubts about whether he can curb unlawful overreach" by Trump, Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine said.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren was one of the most vocal opponents of Sessions’ nomination. On Tuesday night, Warren attempted to read a 1986 letter written by Coretta Scott King, the widow of famed civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. In the letter, King accused Sessions of suppressing black votes in Alabama, and argued he was not fit to serve as a federal judge. While Warren was quoting the letter, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell interrupted, arguing Warren was in violation of a Senate rule that forbids “impugning the motives” of another member. The Senate voted to support McConnell's contention.
Following Sessions’ confirmation, Warren went to Twitter with a warning to the new attorney general:
Many echoed Warren's sentiment, while others were in disbelief.