If approved for the job by a simple majority in the Republican-dominated Senate, Sessions, 69, would lead the Justice Department and the FBI. He brings a record of controversial positions on race, immigration and criminal justice reform that Democrats may target.
Ana Navarro, a Republican strategist and Trump critic, said on Twitter, “Jeff Sessions, considered too racist to be a judge in the 80’s, is Trump’s AG.”
Holly Harris, executive director of U.S. Justice Action Network, a sentencing reform advocacy group that includes powerful conservative tax reform lobbyist Grover Norquist, said Sessions’ nomination “obviously presents a challenge.”
Sessions has opposed lowering mandatory minimum sentences for low-level offenders.
Many civil rights and immigration groups also have concerns about Sessions with the American Civil Liberties Union saying his positions on gay rights, capital punishment, abortion rights and presidential authority in times of war should be examined.
Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, told Reuters: “Our nation deserves an attorney general who will be committed to enforcement of our nation’s civil rights laws and who will not turn the clock back on progress that has been made.”
Sessions’ office did not respond to a request for comment on his nomination or criticism.