The Senate voted Wednesday night to confirm Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, to become the nation’s attorney general after three days of partisan acrimony over President Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees.
The 52-47 vote proceeded along party lines, with one exception: Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, crossed party lines. Sessions himself voted “present.”
Democrats spent more than 50 consecutive hours on the Senate floor thundering away in opposition to two of the president’s most controversial nominees, and tensions boiled over Tuesday when Republicans voted to formally rebuke Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts. The unusual move to reprimand Warren for “impugning” Sessions, who is expected to be confirmed on a largely party-line vote, came after she read aloud a letter by Coretta Scott King in opposition to Sessions’ nomination to a federal judgeship in 1986, which was defeated.
The episode, which dominated discussion Wednesday, was emblematic of the frustrations both parties are experiencing over a confirmation process for Trump’s nominees that continues to slog on. Democrats, who don’t have votes to stop nominees without Republican defections, are using their time on the floor to slow the process and register their objections to nominees they feel are unqualified, by resumé or ideology.