Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), the lone African American Republican in the U.S. Senate, released a statement on the eve of Sen. Jeff Sessions‘s confirmation hearing that he will support the Alabama Republican’s attorney general nomination, reports The Hill.
“I have put a special emphasis on this nomination in terms of doing my own homework and determining the facts from the allegations,” Scott said.
These allegations include that of racism (as a 39-year-old U.S. attorney in Alabama, Sessions did not pass muster in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee after it heard testimony that he had made racist remarks and called the NAACP and ACLU “un-American”) which blocked Sessions from becoming a Federal judge in March and May of 1986.
“While many of the allegations brought up 30 years ago were and are disputed, there are many facts that remain absolutely clear. Jeff is committed to upholding the Constitution of the United States,” said Scott.
Scott noted Sessions’s work as a U.S. attorney, prosecuting a member of the Ku Klux Klan, and his vote for Eric Holder, the first African-American attorney general, as evidence of his fitness for the job.
Meanwhile, another Black senator, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), said on Tuesday that he will break with Senate precedent and testify against Sessions during his confirmation hearing.
This would be the first time in Senate history that a sitting senator will testify against another sitting senator for a Cabinet post during a confirmation, according to CNN.
“I do not take lightly the decision to testify against a Senate colleague,” Booker said. “But the immense powers of the attorney general combined with the deeply troubling views of this nominee is a call to conscience.”
He continued, “This is one of the more consequential appointments in American history right now given the state of a lot of our challenges we have with our policing, a lot of challenges we have with race relations, gay and lesbian relations.”
Other prominent African Americans have also come out in support or against Sessions including Condoleezza Rice (for) and Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights icon (against). Lewis is also expected to testify against Sessions during his confirmation hearings. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-C.A.), the only other African American in the Senate, has come out against the Sessions Attorney General nomination, calling it “troubling.”
Though Senate Democrats have vowed to fight Sessions’ nomination, the Alabama Senator needs only 50 votes to triumph. Senate Republicans, who have vowed to rally behind Sessions, currently have a 52-seat majority in the Upper Chamber of the House.