My Conference Call With Senator Jeff Sessions

First, a couple of quick notes. I will not be covering the Michael Jackson funeral. This is a political blog, not a pop culture blog. He was an amazing singer who will be missed. While the media is covering his funeral, the Mullahs will continue cracking down in Iran with reckless abandon. Speaking of abandon, the lazy media has abandoned the story, as well as the Americans kidnapped by North Korea. As for the King of Pop, I just pray that the events in Downtown LA do not reach the Westside, because I hate traffic.

Second, I have not said a word about the tragic murder of NFL Quarterback Steve McNair. I will cover that in coming days, but right now all we know about the former leader of the Tennessee Titans is that we don’t know. Speculation and conjecture is for others. Until then, I pray for his family, , and look forward to his Hall of Fame Enshrinement. He absolutely does belong there.

Now on to the main event.

I had the pleasure recently of participating on a conference call with Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama.

Senator Sessions is the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. On July 13th, the committee will begin the process of interviewing Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court vacancy created by the retiring David Souter.

The entire conference call was devoted to this one issue.

With that, I present some of the remarks of Senator Sessions.

“The key question we will ask is, ‘Will the nominee be faithful to the law?'”

“If American judges believe that they are empowered like European judges believe, that can be a disqualifying factor.”

“Some of her (Sotomayor) decisions are short, and quite frankly, odd.”

“All nine justices felt that she was wrong to deny the firefighters a trial. Five justices voted to reverse her entirely. The other four justices believed that it was premature of her to render a verdict without giving the firefighters a chance to put on their case.”

“The Supreme Court decision in the Ricci case was 100 pages. Her ruling was one paragraph.”

“Some of her decisions are outside the tradition of the American legal system.”

“When judges set policy, that leads to democracy being diminished, and the power of the people being weakened.”

“Every single slot, every seat, on the Supreme Court is important. Some say that because one liberal is replacing another liberal, that this nomination is not critical. Unacceptable views are not ok just because they are replacing someone with unacceptable views.”

Several bloggers asked questions, but I decided to eschew my typical waiting in the background, preferring to ask the first question this time.

“Senator Sessions, thank you for your time. It is an honor to be with you. Regarding the nominee, she seems to be very stealth regarding the issue of abortion. How can we smoke her out so that she reveals views that may anger her natural supporters on the left?”

(I have read reports saying that her silence on the issue is because she may be pro-life. NARAL has not endorsed her. Yet the Senator feels her stealth is for the exact opposite reason.)

“Well she was a on the Puerto Rico Legal Defense and Education Fund. Their briefs show her to be outside the mainstream view on abortion. The New York Times in 1992 pointed out that for 12 years, she was a board member of PURLDEF. The positions they took would be enough to reveal her views.”

Another questioner asked about a recent case involving voting rights for felons.

“People have argued on the issue politically, but some say that even those currently in jail should have the right to vote.”

The next questioner asked about what witnesses would be called to testify at the hearings, and whether the firefighters in the Ricci case would be called.

“I’m not prepared to share names yet. As for the firefighters in the Ricci case, I don’t know that that is something we will expect to do. The Ricci case should be talked about, but our witness list has not been presented yet.”

Another questioner wanted to know if the entire hearings would be a dog and pony show based on the makeup of the Senate in terms of votes. They wanted to know if Senator Sessions could be swayed, or if his mind was made up.

“I’m not going to just go through the motions and listen for the fun of it. Every Senator is free to ask anything they desire. I’m less likely to ask questions that have already been asked by others. That factors into the line of questioning.”

The Senator then briefly mentioned some issues before the court.

“Her speeches are fair game. The Second Amendment is still up in the air after the Heller case. It settled the issue on a national level, but did not give guidance to the states. Local areas may still try and restrict guns. On immigration, affirmative action, and other issues, we need to see where she stands.”

I asked another question.

“Senator, given that the former Senator Barney Fife of Delaware has been bumped from the Judiciary Committee to the Vice Presidency, will we still see ideology as a determining factor in these proceedings?”

(The Senator laughed when I repeated my nickname for Joe Biden, and then gave a thoughtful answer.)

“The question is whether or not ideology should be a factor. Senator Chuck Schumer has said in the past that it absolutely should be. Well we had hearings on this very issue. I considered it one of the most important set of hearings I have ever been a part of. All of the witnesses appearing before us said ‘no.’ Those things should not determine how a judge rules. Judges should be neutral arbiters. Whether Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, a judge should judge fairly. The ideal of a blind justice is the oath a judge takes, that they promise to treat the rich and poor alike. Judge Sotmayor says that this is a hopeless aspiration. She says that male and female judges reaching the same conclusion is aspirational. That is not the American ideal of justice. She appears to have a lack of commitment to impartiality.”

The Senator was incredibly gracious with his time, and I naturally felt the need to ask hi a lighthearted question. Yes, politics is serious, but their is room in life for levity.

“Senator, what are your thoughts on making the Jerry Reed version of the ‘Alabama Jubilee’ our new national anthem?”

The Senator laughed, and liked the idea.

“I’m actually reading a book about Hank Williams right now. I used to love the Alabama Jubilee tv show.”

I responded by saying, “Well great Senator, because hail, hail, the gang’s all here.”

There was laughter all around as the conference call ended.

It was an absolute pleasure interacting with Senator Sessions. The people of Alabama are lucky to have him. With his help, the Sotomayor nomination will not be a cakewalk.

The people have not spoken yet, and Senator Sessions is ready.


2 Responses to “My Conference Call With Senator Jeff Sessions”

  1. […] “My Conference Call With Senator Jeff Sessions” by Eric at THE TYGRRRR EXPRESS […]

  2. juju705 says:

    I sincerely hope there was laughter all about…what a wonderfully played out monologue by you, Sir. Have a great day and keep on blogging this b.s. No wonder the Republican Party is in terrible shape. You people won’t leave the ’50’s decade!

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