When Will Jeff Sessions Be Confirmed? Past Attorneys General Could Be The Key
The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is presently holding hearings on the first Trump cabinet appointment up for consideration: Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions for attorney general. It's been a pretty light grilling so far, although it figures to get a bit more contentious tomorrow, when New Jersey Senator Cory Booker intends to take the unprecedented step of testifying against a fellow senator. But the fact remains that the GOP has the votes to push Sessions through if nobody defects. So, you might ask, when will Sessions be confirmed?
The answer lies in the scheduling of the hearings. They're slated to last a mere two days, from Tuesday, Jan. 10 to Wednesday, Jan. 11. At that point, the committee will vote on whether or not to move Sessions's name along for nomination by the entire Senate, a vote that's almost certain to succeed. From there, he'll need 51 of 52 Republican votes to claim the job. As ABC News notes, however, there's a little intrigue ahead of the vote, since Sessions himself is one of the senators who'll be voting, raising the question of whether he'll vote for himself.
However, regardless of that question, assuming Sessions has the votes, he'll likely be confirmed within days of the conclusion of his hearings. When Secretary of State John Kerry passed through his committee hearings on Jan 24, 2013, he was confirmed by the Senate just five days later, on Jan. 29.
In other words, if things proceed at a usual pace, it'd be entirely possible that he'll be confirmed sometime next week. There are some potential stumbling blocks for many of Trump's other nominees, however ― while Sessions has already passed an FBI background check, a longstanding prerequisite for nomination, several of Trump's other picks have not. Similarly, a number of Trump's picks have not yet filed proper ethics paperwork, including prospective education secretary Betsy DeVos.
That said, these are stumbling blocks that Sessions doesn't face, having already gotten all his metaphorical ducks in a row ― in addition to having cleared an FBI background check, his ethics paperwork has reportedly been filed. But not without some controversy; according to the Washington Post, some ethics experts have flagged Sessions' filing for not disclosing potential conflicts of interest, namely his ownership of oil and mineral rights on about 600 acres in his home state of Alabama.
The only possible way to stop his ascension to the attorney general's office, in other words, is for two GOP senators to buck their party and refuse to support him. And at this stage, that seems highly doubtful.