U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine has extended been one particular of the few Republicans who could be regarded as an LGBT ally. She’s also pro-selection and has taken many other moderate-to-liberal stances.
But now Collins is a leading cheerleader for one of her most appropriate-wing colleagues, U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, whom Donald Trump has nominated to be attorney common.
“He’s a decent individual with a strong commitment to the rule of law. He’s a leader of integrity,” Collins told The Washington Post. “I believe the attacks against him are not effectively-founded and are unfair.” Collins will even introduce Sessions at his confirmation hearing ahead of the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday, a activity that normally goes to an individual from the nominee’s residence state, and will supply “a complete-throated endorsement for his nomination as lawyer common,” the Post reports.
So progressives can not count on Collins to join the Senate’s Democratic minority to block Session’s appointment — and this action raises the question of how significantly she can be counted on to stand up to other excesses of the incoming administration.
Despite her support for Sessions, her policy positions are diametrically opposed to his. She has consistently scored in the 80s on the Human Rights Campaign’s Congressional Scorecard, a measure of where members of Congress stand on LGBT concerns, although Sessions has racked up mainly zeroes.
She supports marriage equality, despite the fact that she did not do so publicly until 2014, when she was getting challenged in her reelection race by Democrat Shenna Bellows, a longtime marriage equality activist. Collins won reelection, generating her the 1st Republican senator to achieve this soon after having endorsed equal marriage rights. Sessions is a staunch opponent of marriage equality and LGBT rights in basic.
Collins stated she would not vote for Trump. Sessions was the initial senator to endorse his presidential bid.
Sessions has also been accused of being a racist. When he was nominated for a federal judgeship in 1986 — he was then a U.S. attorney in Alabama — the Senate rejected him as also intense. Former colleagues stated he utilised the n word and had no difficulty with the Ku Klux Klan until he discovered that some members smoked marijuana. He has even referred to as the NAACP “un-American.”
“I do not know the dynamics of what happened then, but I can speak to Jeff’s character in the 20 years that I’ve known him,” Collins told the Post in regard to the Senate’s rejection of Sessions for the judgeship.
Offered that he has the support of moderate Republicans and that even some Democrats like him personally, Sessions seems poised to win confirmation. But Democratic senators such as Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Jack Reed of Rhode Island have vowed to scrutinize his record.
And the record, not individual relationships, ought to be the Senate’s focus, said Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. “You must be sitting in that area ready to find out about this person, who you may possibly have observed operating next to you on the treadmill in the Senate health club, who you may possibly have had lunch with, whose family you could even know, but whose record as it relates to the crucial problem of civil rights you may possibly not know,” she said in a Friday conference call, according to the Post.