Homophobic Jeff Sessions confirmed as US Attorney General
Jeff Sessions, the notoriously anti-LGBT Senator from Alabama, has been confirmed as US Attorney General.
Described as a controversial pick, due to his views on race and civil rights, he was confirmed with 52 votes in favour, 47 against.
One Democrat, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, broke ranks with his party and voted in favour of the Alabama Senator’s confirmation.
He said: “You know in West Virginia, we basically build on a relationship if we have a relationship, and Jeff Sessions and I have had a relationship for over six years.
“And everything he was accused of, I’ve never seen, so I am basing on what my knowledge of Jeff Sessions is and I think he’ll be fair and very deliberate in what he does [as attorney general.]”
For the first time in the chamber’s history, New Jersey Senator Cory Brooker testified against his appointment.
He said: “I do not take lightly the decision to testify against a Senate colleague, but the immense powers of the attorney general combined with the deeply troubling views of this nominee is a call to conscience.”
With many on the Democratic benches opposed to the four-term Senator, Elizabeth Warren was silenced on Tuesday night using a rare procedure for quoting a letter attacking Mr Sessions on his civil rights views.
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Giving a speech after the vote, Mr Sessions said he hoped to reduce tensions and have a more civil debate on the issues surrounding his nomination.
As Attorney General for Alabama, Mr Sessions tried to ban LGBT groups from meeting at state universities.
He has also opposed the lifting of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’, the introduction of marriage equality and protections in law for LGBT people.
Mr Sessions has a zero percent rating in the Human Rights Campaign Congressional Scorecard.
He had previously been nominated by Ronald Reagan to become a federal judge but had his nomination voted down in committee due to allegations of racism.
He was the first Senator to endorse Donald Trump in February 2016.
When Mr Sessions resigns his seat Governor Robert Bentley will appoint a successor who will run in a special election in the midterms in 2018.
Luther Strange, the state’s Attorney General, has been tipped as the favourite.