Honestly, it goes without saying.
Sessions has carried a heavy load during the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. He is the ranking Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which Tuesday voted 13-6 in favor of Kagan's nomination. Sessions, who voted against Kagan, is charged with leading the opposition against a nominee selected by the rival party's president. Such is the way of modern politics, where it appears both Democrats and Republicans have come to generally believe no court appointee should take a seat on the bench without a little roughing up.
For Sessions, it's not been easy. Kagan, though she's never been a judge, possesses a keen legal mind. She's clerked for a Supreme Court justice, the late Thurgood Marshall. She's worked at the top levels of government, most recently as President Obama's solicitor general. She has displayed the sort of temperament and wisdom we need from judges. In short, her career path has been aimed at one day wearing black robes in the highest court in the land.
Oh, and then there's the pure math of the thing. Democrats hold a majority in the Senate and short of something extraordinary happening, Republican opponents have little hope of denying a majority vote that would make her Justice Kagan. What's more, Kagan's replacement of a liberal justice, John Paul Stevens, does nothing to upset the ideological split on the Supreme Court.
Despite the odds and lack of passion surrounding the nomination, Sessions and his Republican allies have carried on. They have highlighted Kagan's time as dean of Harvard Law School. Their slander: Kagan barred military recruiters from Harvard during her tenure. The truth is a complicated mixture containing Kagan's personal opposition to the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policies on gays, law-school policies regarding not allowing companies that discriminate on campus and her attempts to navigate between school guidelines and the military's rules.
Sessions writes in a USA Today oped, Kagan is "someone who shares [Obama's] big-government vision for the country, and who is willing to advance it from the bench."
That's odd coming from a senator whose favorite conservative justices have in recent sessions actively meddled in cases concerning guns and campaign finances, turning narrow cases into sweeping edicts that thumb their nose at precedent. We guess one senator's definition of judicial activism is another's "fidelity to the law," as Sessions put it.
Never mind all that, Sessions has his duty; and it is to fight hard against Obama's nominee. Unless something changes in the next few weeks, though, his fight will be all for naught.