The first black woman to serve as America’s secretary of state has come out in support of Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., to become the next attorney general.
Condoleezza Rice, a native of Birmingham, Ala., wrote to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, to urge the committee to confirm Sessions.
Sessions faces hearings Tuesday and Wednesday before the committee, of which he has been a member prior to his selection by President-elect Donald Trump to serve as attorney general.
Rice called Sessions, a “friend” whom she admired “greatly.”
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“He is a man who is committed to justice and knows that law and order are necessary to guarantee freedom and liberty,” she wrote.
Sessions worked to heal the wounds in Alabama brought on by the “prejudice and injustice against the descendants of slaves,” wrote Rice, who served in the administration of former President George W. Bush.
“I know that Sen. Sessions will uphold the laws of our great country and will work to ensure that every person here in the United States is given the voice that is deserved,” she added.
Sessions had sought a federal judgeship in 1986, but was not confirmed after the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., led a Senate charge against Sessions based on testimony that Sessions had made racially insensitive remarks. That episode has been fodder for Sessions’ critics.
“Sen. Sessions is too divisive, too extreme and incapable of protecting the interests and safety of all Americans,” Janai Nelson, associate director-counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, recently said in a statement.
Sessions’ supporters say the Alabama Republican has a strong record in support of civil rights legislation.
Sessions is also supported by leaders of the Fraternal Order of Police, the nation’s largest police union, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the National Association of Police Organizations, and the National Sheriff’s Association.
Sessions was a U.S. attorney in Mobile, Ala., from 1981-1993. In 1994, he was elected the state’s attorney general. He was elected to the Senate in 1996 and has served there since.
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