A top GOP group is pressuring Senate Democrats to give Sen. Jeff Sessions a timely confirmation process just as they did for both Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch during President Obama's two terms in office.
America Rising Squared, a top GOP advocacy group, released an ad Monday featuring prominent Senate Democrats, including Sens. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, and Tim Kaine of Virginia, backing the need for swift confirmations because of the importance of the Justice Department. The ad, titled "Justice Delayed is Justice Denied," will be geotargeted on Capitol Hill on Monday ahead of Sessions' Tuesday hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
"I would hope that we'd have a prompt confirmation so we can restore morale and purpose throughout the Justice Department. It's important the Justice Department have its senior leadership in place without delay," Leahy said in 2009 in support of Holder's nomination.
"It has been said to the point where it is a cliche, but nevertheless a true one, that justice delayed is justice denied," Kaine said in 2015 during Lynch's confirmation process. "The refusal to confirm a leader to head the most important law enforcement agency in the United States is a delay of justice that for many seems to be a denial of justice."
Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., even warned senators against playing "political games" with an attorney general nominee during Lynch's nomination process.
"Attorneys general are important because the attorney general leads the department that keeps us safe and secure and protects our rights," Booker said. "From securing the right to vote to combating the violence of organized crime, to bringing terrorists to justice, this position is too important for any kind of political games and for any kind of delay."
Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., made a similar warning to his Republican colleagues, citing the importance of the Justice Department, adding that it is "irresponsible to hold up a highly qualified" attorney general nominee due to opposition to the president who nominated them.
"I think this is unacceptable and sets an unfortunate, even dangerous precedent. We should not play political games with the Department of Justice, an executive branch agency with 125,000 employees and a $28 billion departmental budget that is charged with all sorts of different law enforcement functions," Coons said. "It is simply irresponsible to hold up a highly qualified nominee for attorney general because some don't like that she agrees with the very president who nominated her."
Sessions' nomination process is set to begin on Tuesday, along with retired Marine Gen. John Kelly, Trump's pick to run the Department of Homeland Security.