Washington November 18, 2016 – Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement on reports that Senator Jeff Sessions will be nominated to be attorney general.
“The Justice Department has the awesome responsibility of upholding the country’s laws and protecting Americans, and the attorney general sets the tone for the entire agency. That’s why this position is so important and deserves such intense scrutiny.
“The attorney general should be above the political fray—our laws absolutely must apply equally to all Americans if we’re to have confidence in them. The attorney general’s honesty, integrity and willingness to enforce the law in an even-handed manner are all vital to be effective in this position.
“The attorney general has jurisdiction over many crucial laws and must discharge his or her duties regardless of personal views. These include enforcing civil rights and voting protections, prosecuting hate crimes and firearm violations, protecting women’s health clinics and upholding the constitutional right to marriage equality.
“The attorney general oversees immigration judges who will hear cases on individuals applying for asylum status. The Justice Department is the agency that determines what interrogation techniques are permissible under our laws and treaties. It sets the priorities for law enforcement throughout our country. And all of this must be done with objectivity and impartiality.
“Finally, the attorney general is the lawyer for the people, not the president. His or her primary loyalty must be to the Constitution and the rule of law—and sometimes that means telling the president no.
“Senator Sessions has served on the Senate Judiciary Committee for many years so he’s well aware of the thorough vetting he’s about to receive. And while many of us have worked with Senator Sessions closely and know him to be a staunch advocate for his beliefs, the process will remain the same: a fair and complete review of the nominee. While Senator Sessions and I differ on a great many issues, I am committed to a full and fair process.”