A few days after he announced his recusal, Sessions traveled to Mar-a-Lago to meet with Trump. Sessions wanted to talk about implementing Trump's proposed travel ban, but instead Trump berated him for recusing himself and asked him to reverse his recusal. Sessions refused. In May 2017, Sessions offered to resign after receiving criticism from Trump, but Trump did not accept the resignation.
For the rest of Sessions' tenure, Trump continued to be furious with him for his recusal, blaming it for the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Trump publicly attacked Sessions multiple times via Twitter and in public comments, saying he regretted choosing him as attorney general and that he never would have done so if he had known Sessions was going to recuse himself from the investigation. According to Bob Woodward's book Fear: Trump in the White House, Trump called Jeff Sessions "mentally retarded" and described him as a "dumb southerner". Trump denied ever using "these terms on anyone", although earlier tape recordings show that he has done so repeatedly.
In addition to criticizing him, Trump often used Twitter to suggest things he thought Sessions should do or to criticize Justice Department actions. According to Senator Jeff Flake, "the president has been pushing [Sessions] very openly to go after the president's enemies and lay off his friends," adding "And so far, Jeff Sessions, bless his heart, has resisted and maintained that the judiciary needs to be independent." Trump demanded that Sessions investigate Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and various employees of the FBI and Justice Department. In August 2018 he said that Sessions should "stop" the Mueller investigation. He later tweeted that "Our A.G. is scared stiff and Missing in Action." In an August interview Trump complained that Jeff Sessions "never took control of the Justice Department," to which Sessions in a rare response said "While I am Attorney General, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations. ... I took control of the Department of Justice the day I was sworn in."
On September 3, 2018 Trump complained on Twitter that "investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department. Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time." Many lawmakers, including Republican senators, said Trump's remark was inappropriate, and a spokesperson for House Speaker Paul Ryan said the Justice Department "should always remain apolitical".
Trump often hinted he wanted to fire Sessions, perhaps after the November 2018 elections. Sessions told associates he did not intend to resign, but on November 7, 2018, he submitted a letter of resignation to Chief of Staff John Kelly at President Trump's request.
On April 3, 2017, Sessions announced that he intended to review consent decrees in which local law enforcement agencies had agreed to Department oversight. U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar then denied Sessions' request to delay a new consent decree with the Baltimore Police Department.
On May 12, 2017, Sessions ordered federal prosecutors to begin seeking the greatest criminal charges possible in drug cases. The new guidelines rescinded a memo by Attorney General Eric Holder that had sought to reduce mass incarceration by avoiding mandatory sentencing.
On July 19, 2017, Sessions signed an order reviving federally adopted civil asset forfeiture, which allows local law enforcement to bypass state limitations on seizing the property of those suspected but not charged of crimes.
In September 2017, the Justice Department under Sessions stated that it would no longer investigate police departments and publicize their shortcomings in reports, a policy previously enacted under the Obama administration. These reports were the basis of negotiating consent decrees.
On December 22, 2017, Sessions rescinded guidelines intended to warn local courts against imposing excessive fines and fees on poor defendants.
Sessions has brought prominence to prosecutions of the MS-13 gang.
In February 2018, Sessions sent a public letter to Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) opposing the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman's bipartisan Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act bill. Sessions opposed White House senior advisor Jared Kushner's support for the reforms until Kushner reportedly agreed to focus instead on improving prison conditions.
On March 20, 2018, Sessions signed a memo instructing federal prosecutors to seek capital punishment on major drug dealers.
In November 2018, just before Sessions was fired by Trump, Sessions ordered for consent decrees to be severely restricted.
In 2020, Sessions asserted that former president Barack Obama coddled criminals while disrespecting law enforcement. He characterized an episode in which "there’s a riot, and he has a beer at the White House with some criminal, to listen to him. Wasn’t having a beer with the police officers." In July 2009, a brief uproar arose after a black Harvard professor, Henry Louis Gates, was arrested by a white police officer as Gates attempted to enter his own home. Obama hosted both men at the White House to discuss the incident over beers.
On March 27, 2017, Sessions told reporters that sanctuary cities failing to comply with policies of the Trump administration would lose federal funding, and cited the shooting of Kathryn Steinle as an example of an illegal immigrant committing a heinous crime.
On April 11, 2017, Sessions issued a memo for federal attorneys to consider prosecuting anyone harboring an illegal immigrant. On the same day, while at an entry border port in Nogales, Arizona, Sessions insisted the new administration would implement policies against those continuing "to seek improper and illegal entry into this country". On April 21, nine sanctuary cities were sent letters by the Justice Department giving them a deadline of June 30 to provide an explanation of how their policies were not in violation of the law, and Sessions hours later warned "enough is enough" in San Diego amid his tour of the U.S.–Mexico border. Two days later, Sessions said that reducing false tax credits given to "mostly Mexicans" could pay for the U.S.-Mexico border and it would be paid for "one way or the other".
Sessions attempted to block funding to sanctuary cities. Sessions also threatened to criminally prosecute uncooperative local officials. Federal judges in Chicago, San Francisco, and Philadelphia have rejected Sessions' efforts.
On March 6, 2018, Sessions sued the state of California in federal district court, alleging that the state's laws regarding prisoner release, workplace inspection, and detention site inspection are preempted by the federal government's immigration policy.
Sessions played an important role in implementing the Trump administration family separation policy wherein undocumented immigrants were separated from their children. In June 2018, Sessions gave a speech in which he cited the Bible to justify the family separation policy, declaring that people should "obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order". Christian leaders strongly disagreed with the policy, with Cardinal Daniel DiNardo calling it "immoral", Reverend Franklin Graham calling it "disgraceful", and Bishop Kenneth Carter of Session's own church (the United Methodist Church) calling it "unnecessarily cruel". Bible scholar and professor Matthew Schlimm said that history was being repeated as Sessions had taken the quote "completely out of context" just as slave traders and Nazis had misused the Bible in the past. Sessions sought to distance himself from the family separation policy, letting others in the administration take the blame.
On June 11, 2018, Sessions reversed a decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals granting a battered woman asylum and announced that victims of domestic abuse or gang violence will no longer qualify for asylum in the United States. He stated that "[t]he mere fact that a country may have problems effectively policing certain crimes – such as domestic violence or gang violence – or that certain populations are more likely to be victims of crime, cannot itself establish an asylum claim." Domestic violence victims had been eligible for asylum since 2014. According to The New Yorker, legal experts estimated that "Sessions had single-handedly dismantled between sixty and seventy per cent of asylum jurisprudence from the previous three decades."
In April 2017, while on a radio talk show, Sessions said that he was "amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the President of the United States from what appears to be clearly his statutory and Constitutional power". This was in reference to Derrick Watson, a judge for the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii, blocking an executive order by President Donald Trump. After receiving criticism for the remark, Sessions said there is nothing he "would want to phrase differently" and that he "wasn't criticizing the judge or the island".
In a May 2017 letter, Sessions personally asked congressional leaders to repeal the Rohrabacher–Farr amendment so that the Justice Department could prosecute providers of medical marijuana. The Rohrabacher–Farr amendment is a 2014 measure that bars the Justice Department from using federal funds to prevent states "from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana." Sessions wrote in the letter that "I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime." John Hudak of the Brookings Institution criticized the letter, stating that it was a "scare tactic" that "should make everyone openly question whether candidate Trump's rhetoric and the White House's words on his support for medical marijuana was actually a lie to the American public on an issue that garners broad, bipartisan support."
On January 4, 2018, Sessions rescinded the Cole Memorandum, which had prevented federal prosecutors from bringing charges against state legalized marijuana use.
Sessions called the fatal vehicle-ramming attack at the August 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia an act of domestic terrorism, and began a civil rights investigation into the attack to determine if it will be tried in court as a hate crime. Sessions said "You can be sure we will charge and advance the investigation toward the most serious charges that can be brought, because this is an unequivocally unacceptable and evil attack that cannot be accepted in America."
In a "Dear Colleague" letter issued February 22, 2017, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Education withdrew and rescinded the 2016 "Dear Colleague" letter issued jointly by the same organizations. The earlier "Dear Colleague" letter, issued on May 13, 2016, had established that Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 allows access to sex-segregated facilities (such as restrooms) corresponding to a student's gender identity. The 2017 letter argued that the 2016 letter lacked "extensive legal analysis", did not "explain how the position is consistent with the express language of Title IX", and it had not undergone "any formal public process." Sessions issued a statement which said "Congress, state legislatures, and local governments are in a position to adopt appropriate policies or laws addressing this issue."
On October 4, 2017, Sessions released a Department of Justice (DoJ) memo interpreting Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on sex, stating that Title VII "is ordinarily defined to mean biologically male or female," but it "does not prohibit discrimination based on gender identity per se." The memo was written to withdraw an earlier DoJ memorandum issued by Eric Holder on December 15, 2014, which aligned the DoJ with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on interpreting Title VII to include gender identity or transgender status as a protected class. At that time, DoJ had already stopped opposing claims of discrimination brought by federal transgender employees. Devin O'Malley, representing the DoJ, stated "the last administration abandoned that fundamental principle [that the Department of Justice cannot expand the law beyond what Congress has provided], which necessitated today's action." Sharon McGowan, a lawyer with Lambda Legal who previously served in the Civil Rights division of DoJ, rejected that argument, saying "this memo [issued by Sessions] is not actually a reflection of the law as it is — it's a reflection of what the DOJ wishes the law were" and "[t]he Justice Department is actually getting back in the business of making anti-transgender law in court."
On August 1, 2018, the U.S. Department of Treasury imposed sanctions on top Turkish government officials who were involved in the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson, who was arrested in October 2016, several months after a failed coup attempt in Turkey. Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ordered the freezing of Sessions' assets in Turkey in retaliation for U.S. sanctions.
On November 7, 2018 (the day after the 2018 midterm elections), Sessions resigned as Attorney General at the president's request.
In October 2019, Sessions began exploring a potential candidacy for his old Senate seat in the 2020 election. On November 7, 2019, Sessions, the night before the deadline to file in the hyper-competitive Republican race, announced his candidacy. The winner of the Republican primary would challenge incumbent Democrat Doug Jones.
With no candidate acquiring more than 50% of the vote in the Republican primary, Sessions advanced to the run-off originally to be held on March 31, but delayed until July 14 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sessions faced the former head football coach at Auburn University, Tommy Tuberville. During the primary, Alabama's senior senator Richard Shelby asked Trump to stay out of the race. However, after the first-round primary Trump endorsed Tuberville. Throughout the campaign, Sessions has called himself an ally and supporter of Trump. However, on April 3 the Trump campaign sent a letter to Sessions, objecting and condemning the connections that Sessions has made between him and Trump during the Senate race.
Throughout the campaign Sessions repeatedly defended attacks from the President on Twitter. On May 22, 2020 President Trump tweeted "3 years ago, after Jeff Sessions recused himself, the Fraudulent Mueller Scam began. Alabama, do not trust Jeff Sessions. He let our Country down..." Sessions responded the next day by tweeting: "Mr. President, Alabama can and does trust me, as do conservatives across the country. Perhaps you’ve forgotten. They trusted me when I stepped out and put that trust on the line for you.". The President responded directly by continuing to deride Sessions, while further encouraging him to drop out of the race entirely.
Sessions lost the Alabama Senate Primary to Tommy Tuberville on July 14, 2020. A Washington Post headline read, "Sessions loses runoff in Alabama as Trump helps end career of key supporter he came to despise." Illinois Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger said, "Jeff was the first elected official to support you." "Seems loyalty is expected from you but not granted."
During his tenure, Sessions was considered one of the most conservative members of the U.S. Senate.
Sessions was an opponent of legal and illegal immigration during his time in Congress. He opposed the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 and the bi-partisan Gang of Eight's Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013. He said that a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants undermines the rule of law, that the inflow of guest workers and immigrants depresses wages and raises unemployment for United States citizens, and that current immigration policy expands an underclass dependent on the welfare state. In a May 2006 floor speech, he said, "Fundamentally, almost no one coming from the Dominican Republic to the United States is coming because they have a skill that would benefit us and that would indicate their likely success in our society." He is a supporter of E-Verify, the federal database that allows businesses to electronically verify the immigration status of potential new hires, and has advocated for expanded construction of a Southern border fence. In 2013, Sessions said that an opt-out provision in immigration legislation before Congress would allow Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to avoid building a border fence. PolitiFact called Session's statement "False", stating that the provision would allow Napolitano to determine where the fence was built, but not opt out of building it entirely.
Sessions' Senate website expressed his view that there is a "clear nexus between immigration and terrorism" and that "Plainly, there is no way to vet these refugees" who would immigrate to the U.S. from Syria in 2016 or who came to the U.S. after September 11, 2001 and were alleged to be involved in terrorism. The news release said that "the absence of derogatory information in our systems about an individual does not mean that admitting that individual carries no risk". Sessions has expressed the view that the children of immigrants from Muslim-majority countries are "susceptible to the toxic radicalization of terrorist organizations" on the basis of the Orlando and San Bernardino attacks. Sessions supported establishing safe zones as an alternative to immigration from war-torn countries.
Breitbart News executive chairman Steve Bannon talked about Jeff Sessions as the leader of the movement for slowing down both legal and illegal immigration before Donald Trump came to the scene, considering his work to kill immigration reform as akin "to the civil rights movement of 1960". Sessions and his communications director Stephen Miller developed what Miller describes as "nation-state populism" as a response to globalization and immigration.
Immigration is the issue that brought Sessions and Trump together. Trump has credited Sessions as an influential advisor on immigration. After Trump was elected and announced Sessions as his Attorney General nominee, Cato Institute immigration analyst Alex Nowrasteh observed "It's almost as if Sessions wrote Trump's immigration platform."
On June 18, 2018, a group of more than 600 United Methodist Church clergy and laity announced that they were bringing church law charges against Sessions. The members of the group accused him of "child abuse, immorality, racial discrimination and dissemination of doctrines contrary to the standards of the doctrine of the United Methodist Church."
According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a woman and her child fled domestic abuse in El Salvador to seek asylum in the U.S. However the mother was removed from her detention facility and likely put on a plane on August 9, 2018, despite Justice Department promises that she and others would not be deported before the judge could rule on their cases. Judge Emmet G. Sullivan demanded, "Turn that plane around." He threatened to hold those responsible for the removal in contempt of court, starting with Sessions, if the situation was not rectified. A Department of Homeland Security official stated, "We are complying with the court's requests ... the plaintiffs will not disembark and will be promptly returned to the United States." An ACLU suit challenged a recent decision by Sessions to make it nearly impossible for victims of domestic violence and gangs to qualify for asylum in the U.S. The lawsuit claims the woman and her young daughter came to the U.S. from El Salvador after twenty years of spousal abuse and her receiving death threats from a violent gang."
In 2005, Sessions spoke at a rally in Washington, D.C. in favor of the War in Iraq organized in opposition to an anti-war protest held the day before. Sessions said of the anti-war protesters: "The group who spoke here the other day did not represent the American ideals of freedom, liberty and spreading that around the world. I frankly don't know what they represent, other than to blame America first." The same year, he opposed legislation by Senator John McCain prohibiting the U.S. military from engaging in torture; the amendment passed 90–9.
Sessions opposed the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, the 2011 military intervention in Libya, and arming the Syrian rebels. As Attorney General, he reportedly advised President Trump against increasing the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan.
In the 109th Congress, Sessions introduced legislation to increase the death gratuity benefit for families of service members from $12,420 to $100,000. The bill also increased the level of coverage under the Servicemen's Group Life Insurance from $250,000 to $400,000. Sessions' legislation was accepted in the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2005.
In June 2014, Sessions was one of three senators to vote against additional funding for the VA medical system. He opposed the bill due to cost concerns and indicated that Congress should instead focus on "reforms and solutions that improve the quality of service and the effectiveness that is delivered".
In September 2016, in advance of a UN Security Council resolution 2334 condemning Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, Sessions signed an AIPAC-sponsored letter urging President Barack Obama to veto "one-sided" resolutions against Israel.
In 1996, Sessions promoted state legislation in Alabama that sought to punish a second drug trafficking conviction, including for dealing marijuana, with a mandatory minimum death sentence. Sessions' views on drugs and crime have since softened.
Sessions supported the reduction (but not the elimination) of the sentencing disparity between crack cocaine and powdered cocaine, ultimately passed into law with the Fair Sentencing Act 2010.
On October 5, 2005, Sessions was one of nine Senators who voted against a Senate amendment to a House bill that prohibited cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment or punishment of individuals in the custody or under the physical control of the United States Government.
In November 2010, Sessions was a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee when the committee voted unanimously in favor of the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA), and sent the bill to the full Senate for consideration. The proposed law would allow the Attorney General to ask a court to issue a restraining order on Internet domain names that host copyright-infringing material.
In October 2015, Sessions opposed Chairman Chuck Grassley's (R-IA) Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, a bipartisan bill which sought to reduce mandatory minimum sentences for some nonviolent crimes. The United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary approved the bill by a vote of 15–5. According to The New York Times, Sessions, Tom Cotton, and David Perdue "stalled the bill in the Senate and sapped momentum from a simultaneous House effort". Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), a co-sponsor of the bill, has said Sessions was its top opponent.
Sessions has been a strong supporter of civil forfeiture, the government practice of seizing property when it has allegedly been involved in a crime. Sessions opposes "any reform" of civil forfeiture legislation.
From March 2018 until the end of his service as Attorney General, Sessions sat on the Federal Commission on School Safety.
Sessions voted for the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts, and said he would vote to make them permanent if given the chance. He is a signer of Americans for Tax Reform's Taxpayer Protection Pledge.
Sessions was one of 25 senators to vote against the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (the bank bailout), arguing that it "undermines our heritage of law and order, and is an affront to the principle of separation of powers".
Sessions opposed the $837 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, calling it "the largest spending bill in the history of the republic". In late 2011 he also expressed skepticism about the $447 billion jobs bill proposed by President Obama, and disputed the notion that the bill would be paid for without adding to the national debt.
In 2013, Sessions sent a letter to National Endowment for the Humanities enquiring why the foundation funded projects that he deemed frivolous. He also criticized the foundation for distributing books related to Islam to hundreds of U.S. libraries, saying "Using taxpayer dollars to fund education program grant questions that are very indefinite or in an effort to seemingly use Federal funds on behalf of just one religion, does not on its face appear to be the appropriate means to establish confidence in the American people that NEH expenditures are wise."
Sessions voted against the Matthew Shepard Act, which added acts of bias-motivated violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity to federal hate-crimes law, commenting that it "has been said to cheapen the civil rights movement". Sessions "believes that a marriage is union between a man and a woman, and has routinely criticized the U.S. Supreme Court and activist lower courts when they try to judicially redefine marriage". Sessions voted in favor of advancing the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2004 and 2006, a U.S. constitutional amendment which would have permanently restricted federal recognition of marriages to those between a man and a woman. Sessions voted against the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010.
Sessions has also said regarding the appointment of a gay Supreme Court justice, "I do not think that a person who acknowledges that they have gay tendencies is disqualified, per se, for the job" but "that would be a big concern that the American people might feel—might feel uneasy about that".
Sessions is against legalizing marijuana for either recreational or medicinal use. "I'm a big fan of the DEA", he said during a hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee. Sessions was "heartbroken" and found "it beyond comprehension" when President Obama said that cannabis is not as dangerous as alcohol. In April 2016, he said that it was important to foster "knowledge that this drug is dangerous, you cannot play with it, it is not funny, it's not something to laugh about ... and to send that message with clarity that good people don't smoke marijuana". In March 2017, prepared remarks for a speech of his called cannabis "only slightly less awful" than heroin, and he argued that "lives [were] at stake" in legalizing the drug.
Sessions believes "that sanctity of life begins at conception".
Sessions was one of 34 Senators to vote against the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007, which was vetoed by President Bush and would have provided funding for human embryonic stem cell research.
In 2006, Sessions coauthored legislation amending the Ryan White CARE Act to increase the share of HIV/AIDS funding going to rural states, including Alabama.
Sessions opposed President Barack Obama's health reform legislation; he voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in December 2009, and he voted against the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.
Following Senator Ted Cruz's 21-hour speech opposing the Affordable Care Act in 2013, Sessions joined Cruz and 17 other Senators in a failed vote against cloture on a comprehensive government funding bill that would have continued funding healthcare reform.
Sessions rejects the scientific consensus on climate change. He has voted in favor of legislation that would bar the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases. He has voted to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. Sessions is a proponent of nuclear power.
As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sessions defended unsuccessful circuit court nominee Charles W. Pickering against allegations of racism, saying he was "a leader for racial harmony". Sessions rejected criticisms of successful circuit court nominee Dennis Shedd's record, saying he "should have been commended for the rulings he has made". In 2003, Sessions viewed criticisms of Alabama Attorney General William H. Pryor Jr.'s ultimately successful circuit court appointment as being due to his faith, stating that "Are we not saying that good Catholics need not apply?"
Sessions was a supporter of the "nuclear option", a tactic considered by then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist in the spring of 2005 to change longstanding Senate rules to stop Democratic filibusters (or, "talking a bill to death") of some of George W. Bush's nominees to the federal courts. When the "Gang of 14" group of moderate Senators reached an agreement to allow filibusters under "extraordinary circumstances", Sessions accepted the agreement but argued that "a return to the tradition of up-or-down votes on all judicial nominees would ... strengthen the Senate".
While serving as the ranking member on the Judiciary Committee in the 110th Congress, Sessions was the senior Republican who questioned Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Barack Obama's nominee to succeed retiring Justice David Souter. Sessions focused on Sotomayor's views on empathy as a quality for a judge, arguing that "empathy for one party is always prejudice against another". Sessions also questioned the nominee about her views on the use of foreign law in deciding cases, as well as her role in the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (PRLDEF). On July 28, 2009, Sessions joined five Republican colleagues in voting against Sotomayor's nomination in the Judiciary Committee. The committee approved Sotomayor by a vote of 13–6. Sessions also voted against Sotomayor when her nomination came before the full Senate. He was one of 31 senators (all Republicans) to do so, while 68 voted to confirm the nominee.
Sessions also served as the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee during the nomination process for Elena Kagan, President Obama's nominee to succeed retired Justice John Paul Stevens. Sessions based his opposition on the nominee's lack of experience, her background as a political operative (Kagan had said that she worked in the Clinton White House not as a lawyer but as a policy adviser), and her record on guns, abortion, and gay rights. Sessions pointed out that Kagan "has a very thin record legally, never tried a case, never argued before a jury, only had her first appearance in the appellate courts a year ago".
Sessions focused the majority of his criticism on Kagan's treatment of the military while she was dean of Harvard Law School. During her tenure, Kagan reinstated the practice of requiring military recruiters to coordinate their activities through a campus veterans organization, rather than the school's Office of Career Services. Kagan argued that she was trying to comply with a law known as the Solomon Amendment, which barred federal funds from any college or university that did not grant military recruiters equal access to campus facilities. Sessions asserted that Kagan's action was a violation of the Solomon Amendment and that it amounted to "demeaning and punishing the military". He also argued that her action showed a willingness to place her politics above the law, and questioned "whether she had the intellectual honesty, the clarity of mind, that you would expect on the Supreme Court".
On July 20, 2010, Sessions and five Republican colleagues voted against Kagan's nomination. Despite this, the Judiciary Committee approved the nomination by a 13–6 vote. Sessions also voted against Kagan in the full Senate vote, joining 36 other senators (including one Democrat) in opposition. 63 senators voted to confirm Kagan. Following the vote, Sessions remarked on future nominations and elections, saying that Americans would "not forgive the Senate if we further expose our Constitution to revision and rewrite by judicial fiat to advance what President Obama says is a broader vision of what America should be".
In March 2016, following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia and President Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court, Sessions said the "Senate should not confirm a new Supreme Court justice until a new president is elected".
In 1999, Sessions cosponsored the bill to award Rosa Parks the Congressional Gold Medal.
On December 11, 2013, Sessions cosponsored the Victims of Child Abuse Act Reauthorization Act of 2013, a bill that would reauthorize the Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990 and would authorize funding through 2018 to help child abuse victims. Sessions argued that "there is no higher duty than protecting our nation's children, and this bill is an important step to ensure the most vulnerable children receive the care and support they deserve".
Sessions and his wife Mary have three children and as of March 2020, ten grandchildren. The family attends a United Methodist church. Specifically, Jeff and Mary Sessions are members of the Ashland Place United Methodist Church in Mobile, Alabama; Jeff Sessions has taught Sunday school there.
This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website http://bioguide.congress.gov.