(WASHINGTON) - Influential leaders are speaking out in support of U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions upon the announcement that President-elect Donald J. Trump intends to nominate him Attorney General of the United States.
Statements of support from Senate colleagues, conservative policy groups, and leaders from the legal community came pouring in Friday. Here's what they're saying...
Kenyen R. Brown, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, President Obama appointee
"Jeff Sessions is a man of outstanding character with an impeccable reputation for integrity. I have no doubt that he will be an outstanding U.S. Attorney General. I wish him much success in this new leadership role in our nation."
Barry F. Kowalski, Civil Rights Attorney and Former Special Counsel in the Civil Rights Division of United States Justice Department
"I worked closely with Senator Sessions while he was U.S. Attorney and I was in the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department. This was during the 1980s when many southern U.S. Attorneys were not always welcoming to the Civil Rights Division working in their districts. However, Senator Sessions could not have been more supportive of our investigations, and in the Michael Donald case specifically, he personally contributed to making sure his killers were brought to justice."
William Smith, Chief of Staff to Congressman Gary Palmer, Chief Counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee
"I had the opportunity to work with Senators Sessions for close to 10 years. Throughout that time, he was more a friend and confidant than the boss. I believe he hired me as the first-ever Republican African American Chief Counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee and I'm not sure there has been another one since me. After I moved to Alabama to practice law and then returned to Washington, Senator Sessions offered me the position of Chief Counsel on the full Judiciary Committee and then basically created a position for me on his Senate Budget Committee, where I continued as his Chief. Jeff Sessions is a man of high character and great integrity. He would make an outstanding Attorney General and I'm excited to support him 100%. Although I pushed the envelope a number of times, not once did Senator Sessions ever say anything to offend me. Instead, time after time, he stood by me and the conservative causes I was out to support. I remember spending several late nights in the office, not talking about working, but talking about life and family. Senator Sessions was always concerned for my well-being. Because he is such a great man, one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made was leaving his employment. In his kindness, he told me if I wanted to come back, I could. He, Mary and his children have treated me like family and I'll always be grateful for that."
Dr. Darrell Scott, Senior Pastor of New Spirit Revival Center Ministries
"I had the opportunity to get to know Sen. Jeff Sessions during President-elect Trump's successful campaign and can say unequivocally that he is a man of great character and integrity. I believe wholeheartedly that he will make an outstanding Attorney General and will ensure that all Americans receive equal justice."
Texas State Representative James White
"This summer I had the opportunity to visit extensively with Sen. Jeff Sessions. I am impressed with his command of a host of issues from criminal justice, to national security, to jobs and the economy. His deep and sincere concern for working men and women in America is refreshing.
"Over the last two election cycles, I have not drawn a primary or general election opponent. I know firsthand that this occurs because of hard work, not happenstance. When I asked Sen. Sessions how did he managed to accomplish this the last time he was on the ballot in 2014, he told me that he decided a long time ago to "listen less to the donor class" and focus more on the people of Alabama. Running unopposed for the U.S. Senate means that Sen. Sessions is not just representing Alabama Republicans or some other specific group, instead he is serving ALL the people of the great State of Alabama; and he renewed my commitment to fight for the people of East Texas.
"This is the type of leadership that the American people are clamoring for and I applaud President-elect Trump's decision to nominate Sen. Session as our next Attorney General. As a fellow American, military veteran, conservative Republican elected official, and Southerner, I'm confident that as the attorney general, Jeff Sessions will serve with honor, uphold our Constitution, and exhibit fairness to all Americans."
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
"I strongly support the President-elect's intention to nominate Sen. Jeff Sessions to be the next United States Attorney General. Jeff is principled, forthright, and hardworking. He cares deeply about his country and the Department he will be nominated to lead. As a senator, he has worked tirelessly to safeguard the public and to improve the lives of Americans from all walks of life. Whether it was collaborating with our colleague Sen. Durbin to reduce sentencing disparities for certain drug offenses, teaming up with the late Sen. Ted Kennedy on landmark legislation to combat sexual assault in prison, or his many other achievements, Jeff has always looked out for the safety, security and freedoms of his constituents and the nation.
"I look forward to the Senate's fair and expeditious treatment of our colleague's forthcoming nomination, just as it promptly processed President Obama's first Attorney General nomination, which concluded with a timely up or down vote."
U.S. Senate President Pro Tempore Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
"The Obama Justice Department veered away from its core mission and too often politicized enforcement of the law. Sen. Sessions has broad law enforcement experience at both the state and the federal levels, and in both the executive and the legislative branches. I am confident he will help get the Justice Department back on track. Having served with Sen. Sessions for many years on the Judiciary Committee, I look forward to supporting his nomination and working closely with him on important initiatives in the months ahead."
U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee
"Sen. Sessions is a respected member and former Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee who has worked across the aisle on major legislation. He knows the Justice Department as a former U.S. attorney, which would serve him very well in this position. With this background, I'm confident he would be reported favorably out of the committee."
Leonard Leo, Executive Vice President, The Federalist Society
"I have known Senator Jeff Sessions for nearly a quarter century and I can say emphatically that President Trump is picking a very good man for Attorney General. He has the independence, integrity, experience and commitment to human dignity that is so important in an Attorney General or any public servant charged with upholding the Constitution."
U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R. Maine)
"He is an individual who works hard, believes in public service and acts with integrity. As a former U.S. attorney and former Alabama attorney general, Senator Sessions is well qualified and would serve our country well as United States Attorney General."
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
"Sen. Sessions is a fine, decent man and principled conservative. I've known him for more than twenty years. He has the experience and ability to serve as Attorney General of the United States. He was an early supporter of Donald Trump in the Senate and he has earned the right to serve President-elect Trump and our nation at the highest level."
U.S. Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ)
"Senator Sessions is well liked and well regarded, even by those who don't always agree with him. I look forward to supporting his nomination."
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)
"Sen. Jeff Sessions' nomination as attorney general is great news for all of us who revere the Constitution and the rule of law. I have been honored to work with Sen. Sessions on many of our nation's most important issues over the last four years. Sen. Sessions has had an extraordinary career in government and law enforcement. He has been an exemplary senator for the state of Alabama, and I am confident that he will be an exceptional United States attorney general."
U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL)
"President-elect Trump has made an outstanding decision in selecting my friend and colleague Sen. Jeff Sessions to serve as our next U.S. Attorney General. Jeff is a man of integrity who has been a trusted and valued partner of mine in the Senate as well as an unwavering voice for Alabamians in Congress. With decades of experience in the legal field and an impressive tenure on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Jeff will bring expertise to President-elect Trump's cabinet and the Department of Justice.
"I am confident that Jeff will continue to stand up for the American people, our Constitution, and the rule of law in this new role. My wife Annette and I wish him, his wife Mary, and his family the very best during this exciting time."
U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX)
"I commend the choice of Sen. Sessions to lead the Justice Department under the new Republican Administration. A principled and good man, he will restore honor to a Department that, under President Obama, perpetually pushed a political agenda while neglecting to enforce the law. For nearly eight years the Justice Department has twisted the Constitution and the laws passed by Congress to further the President's liberal agenda, eroding our liberty in the process. It has put politics ahead of national security, and demonized those who protect us. It's time to end the politicization of the Justice Department and start defending the rule of law, and I'm confident that as our top law enforcement official Senator Sessions will do that."
U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS)
"Sen. Jeff Sessions will be a champion for the Constitution and the rule of law. He will also provide sound counsel to President-elect Trump during the selection of Supreme Court nominees and other judicial appointments. For the past eight years, the Justice Department has eroded our nation's immigration laws, attacked our Second Amendment rights, and weakened religious liberty. It has been more concerned with pushing politics than administering the law. If confirmed, I am confident that Sen. Sessions can reverse that tide and help restore people's faith in their government.
U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK)
"I am encouraged to hear about President-elect Trump's nomination of my Senate colleague Sen. Jeff Sessions to be the next Attorney General of the United States. Sen. Sessions has a long record of exemplary public service, and is a passionate defender of our Constitution and the rule of law. I look forward to his confirmation and working with the next Attorney General in reestablishing constitutional principles that have been eviscerated by the current Administration."
U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA)
"Jeff's extensive legal career and experience make him a natural fit to lead our nation's Justice Department. His knowledge and dedication to our judicial system have been evident during my work with him on the Senate Judiciary Committee. I look forward to continue working with Jeff to make our country safer for all Americans."
U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC)
"Over the last two years, I've had the pleasure of calling Sen. Sessions my friend and colleague. While Sen. Sessions and I certainly don't agree on the specifics of every major issue, including immigration reform and criminal justice reform, he always expresses our policy differences in the form of productive and gracious exchanges of ideas. From my experience working with him on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, I consider him to be hands-down one of the fairest and most accessible chairmen of any congressional committee.
"These are some of the reasons Sen. Sessions is so well-liked by his colleagues, and respected by leaders of both parties. As Attorney General, he will follow the rule of law, be accessible, and address the organizational and accountability issues plaguing the Department of Justice, which are qualities and priorities that have unfortunately been missing from the department's leadership over the last eight years."
U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT)
"Sen. Sessions' solid understanding of the Constitution and firm commitment to the rule of law is exactly what the Justice Department needs. I have worked closely with Sen. Sessions on the Judiciary Committee over these past six years and I have every confidence that he will make a great Attorney General for all Americans."
U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK)
"I am pleased that President-elect Trump has announced his intention to nominate my good friend and colleague Jeff Sessions as attorney general. Sen. Sessions and I have worked closely together in the Senate for the last 20 years on the Armed Services and Environment & Public Works Committees. He is well respected on both sides of the aisle, in his home state of Alabama, and across the country. Sen. Session's experience as well as his deep respect for the rule of law leave no doubt in my mind that he is an excellent pick for attorney general."
U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY)
"For nine years, I have had the pleasure of working with Jeff Sessions in the Senate. He is well-respected by his colleagues and is unfailingly gracious to everyone. Jeff has been a strong advocate for our men and women in uniform, and for our nation's safety and security. He has also shown a willingness to listen to and work with senators on both sides of the aisle. I support his nomination to be the next Attorney General, and I look forward to his timely and fair hearing in the Senate."
Jim DeMint, former U.S. Senator and President of the Heritage Foundation
"No one will work harder than Jeff Sessions to defend the freedoms and safety of all Americans as Attorney General. He is not intimidated by the liberal media or the Washington establishment. He has the courage and the proven record to take on special interests. He is passionate about defending the Constitution and the rule of law to protect the rights of everyone. Jeff has been such a great friend to me and many others, becoming one of the most respected leaders in the Senate and should easily be confirmed."
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee
"Jeff Sessions great pick for AG. He was a bold voice to stop TPP when other GOP figures were ready to give away the country."
Public Interest Legal Foundation
"Sen. Sessions' record and respect for the rule of law makes him an excellent choice to lead the United States Department of Justice," said J. Christian Adams, President of the Public Interest Legal Foundation and former lawyer in the Voting Rights Section of the Department. "Over the past 8 years, the Department of Justice has been derelict on its responsibilities to ensure free and fair elections across this nation, at times even contributing to the problem. We look forward to working with the Department to restore election integrity nationwide."
National Sheriffs' Association
"Sen. Sessions would be an outstanding nominee for U.S. Attorney General. Sen. Sessions has enormous integrity, fidelity to the rule of law, substantial experience and a commitment to fairness and equal justice under the law. Those are qualities America needs as its chief law enforcement officer to the Federal Government.
"Throughout his career, Sen. Sessions has steadfastly supported the men and women who risk their lives every day to preserve the rule of law. Sen. Sessions is an experienced prosecutor with a world-class legal mind, serving as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, Alabama Attorney General and for two decades on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, which oversees the Department of Justice.
"Sen. Sessions would be an extraordinary Attorney General and we're hopeful the new administration nominates him and the U.S. Senate quickly confirms."
Americans for Limited Government
"President-elect Donald Trump has made a strong statement that our Justice Department will return to following the rule of law through his appointment of Sen. Jeff Sessions to serve as the Attorney General. While soft-spoken, Sen. Sessions has the steel-willed determination to restore DOJ from its current corrupted partisanship by putting the blindfold back on Lady Justice as he enforces the law. Sessions will also help remove the stain of an Obama Justice Department that views itself more as political activists than neutral arbiters as has been witnessed by their legal war on local police and their failure to enforce immigration laws. The only potential down-side of Sen. Jeff Sessions' appointment is that when confirmed, the Senate will lose one of its great leaders who has met every challenge with integrity and quiet strength."
Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) president Marjorie Dannenfelser
"Sen. Jeff Sessions is a longtime ally of the pro-life movement with a 100 percent pro-life record. We look forward to working with him and supporting him as he enforces current and future pro-life laws, including those President-elect Trump has pledged to advance. A pro-life Attorney General will be a welcome change. The Obama Administration has consistently turned a blind eye to the abortion industry, led by Planned Parenthood, and their horrific involvement in the trafficking of baby body organs."
Penny Nance, CEO & President of Concerned Women for America (CWA)
"Sen. Sessions has been a champion for the conservative principles that are the foundation of liberty and freedom. Both his academic preparation and his stellar career as a U.S. Attorney and as a senator testify of an honest, competent man with a heart towards serving his fellow countrymen, even through much personal sacrifice. We commend President-elect Trump for his selection of such a strong candidate. The choice speaks very highly of his commitment to conservative principles.
"The hundreds of thousands of members of Concerned Women for America (CWA) around the country will urge senators to move quickly in the new year to confirm Sen. Sessions as the next attorney general, so that we may start rectifying many of the asphyxiating policies pursued by Attorney General Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch. The attacks on religious freedom and freedom of conscience in general, for example, must be at the top of the list."