In a barrage of Cabinet appointments last week, President-elect Donald Trump nominated Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions to take the role of United States attorney general — a compensatory prize for one of the first members of Congress to endorse Trump on the campaign trail.
Formerly a practicing attorney in Mobile, the Republican served two years as an assistant U.S. attorney before being nominated by President Ronald Reagan to be the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Alabama.
Sessions held the position for 12 years before being elected as Alabama’s attorney general in 1995. In 1996, the people of Alabama elected Sessions to the position he still holds in the Senate today.
“I have known Jeff Sessions for almost 40 years, and he has always been a person of the highest level of integrity. As a U.S. attorney in Mobile, Sen. Sessions led the charge to clean up corruption in our local government,” U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne said following news of Sessions’ nomination. “He earned respect from everyone in our community by always conducting himself in a professional and fair way.”
Others were quick to praise Sessions as well, including current Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, who called the senator “a credit to our state and to our nation.”
“From the day Jeff Sessions stepped foot on the floor of the U.S. Senate, he has never forgotten where he came from or who he represents,” Strange said. “He has worked tirelessly for the people of Alabama, fighting to bring home jobs and economic development, to secure our borders and to ensure that our military men and women receive all the support they need to succeed — whether on the battlefield, in a veterans hospital or in their civilian lives.”
U.S. Attorney Kenyen Brown, who currently serves in Sessions’ former position as the head of the Southern District of Alabama, spared no praise for his predecessor last Friday — wishing Sessions “much success in this new leadership role.”
“Jeff Sessions is a man of outstanding character with an impeccable reputation for integrity,” Brown wrote in a brief statement. “I have no doubt that he will be an outstanding U.S. Attorney General.”
By law, if Sessions does vacate his post in the Senate, it will be up to Gov. Robert Bentley to appoint a successor to serve out the remainder of Sessions’ current congressional term, though it’s unclear at this point who that might be.
This week, Bentley sent out a survey from the Alabama Republican Party’s executive committee, seeking input on who would make a suitable candidate. The message came by way of the governor’s appointments director, Will Edwards.
“Gov. Bentley is taking this process seriously and knows that you will as well,” Edwards wrote. “The person who replaces Sen. Sessions must uphold the Constitution, value the rights of the Second Amendment, the rights of the states, support pro-life issues, implement a strong national security policy, support domestic job creation and, most importantly, always put Alabama first.”