The Attorney General Confirmation Hearing Was A Sham

Sessions Was Not Fully Vetted as Nominee

The Constitution requires that the Senate provide "advice and consent" to evaluate and either confirm or reject Presidential nominees for positions in the federal government.  This is an important component of the system of checks and balances on which our country is built.

This is not an option for the Senate.  It's a responsibility.  Executive power cannot be left unchecked in our country, regardless of who happens to be occupying the White House at any given moment.  This is not a partisan issue, but a Constitutional one.

Yet what we've seen so far, with limited exceptions, is that the Senate has shirked its responsibilities in the Attorney General (and other) confirmation hearings.  As we wrote earlier this week, the Senate drastically limited the scope and duration of the Sessions hearing.  John Ashcroft faced 4 days of hearings and dozens of witnesses when he was nominated for Attorney General; and Sessions himself faced 19 witnesses when he was nominated for a judgeship.  This hearing was 2 days and 9 witnesses.

Was the Senate even interested in vetting Sessions?  Or were they going through the motions like a reckless driver forced to attend traffic school?

Two days and nine witnesses simply isn't enough for a nomination this important and controversial.  With significant voting rights at stake in this hearing, It's worth noting that Rep. John Lewis, one of the most distinguished members of the voting right movement, was given fewer than 10 minutes in which to speak.  (The full video of Rep. Lewis's remarks is worth watching.)

It shouldn't matter what side of the political fence you're on.  Realistically, it's expected that with the President and Congress aligned on the basis of political party, they'll often work in lockstep.  In principle, there's nothing wrong with that.

But there's a difference between working towards the same platform and letting one branch of government write blank checks.  The Senate has a Constitutional responsibility to independently vet the President's nominees.  

The Sessions hearing was a sham.  Even if the Senate didn't care to hear about a nominee's qualifications, the American people deserve to.  It should always bother you when your elected officials fail to do their jobs.  Here, the Senate failed miserably.