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Cabinet Confirmation Hearings: Experts Available on Civil Liberties, Voting Rights, and Criminal Justice

Confirmation hearings for Attorney General & Homeland Security Secretary are a vital opportunity for committee members and the public to assess the nominees’ records on a host of key issues.

January 9, 2017

Tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. ET, the Senate Judiciary Committee will begin its confirmation hearings for Attorney General nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.). The hearings present a vital opportunity for committee members and the public to assess Sessions’s positions on a host of key issues before he becomes the nation’s chief law enforcement officer.

Brennan Center experts, including President Michael Waldman, are available to discuss the following issues, as well as President Barack Obama’s legacy ahead of his farewell speech tomorrow night.

  • Surveillance & Policing: Sessions should be asked to state positions on the surveillance of Muslim-Americanswarrantless surveillance of Americans’ communications by national security agencies, the transparency of legal advice provided to the Executive Branch, and the militarization of state and local police. Experts on these issues, who can also weigh in on the confirmation hearings for Department of Homeland Security nominee Gen. John Kelly at 3:30 p.m. ET, include Faiza Patel, Elizabeth Goitein, Rachel Levinson-Waldman, and Michael Price.
  • Voting Rights: Senators should ask Sessions about his dubious record on protecting voting rights. And, in light of Donald Trump’s unfounded claims of voter fraud, committee members should secure a commitment from Sessions that he will not allow a partisan agenda on voting to infect the Justice Department, as it did during the George W. Bush administration a decade ago. Experts include Michael Waldman, Wendy Weiser, and Myrna Pérez.
  • Criminal Justice: There’s genuine bipartisan agreement on criminal justice reform — but last year, Sessions blocked a modest bill, planting himself firmly on the fringe. Senators should ask Sessions about why he killed the Republican-led reform effort, as well as his long record of supporting harsh policies on sentencing and drug laws, police oversight, reentry programs, and more. Experts include Ames Grawert.

For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Rebecca Autrey at 646–292–8316, or