Jefferson Beauregard "Jeff" Sessions III (born December 24, 1946) is the junior United States Senator from Alabama. First elected in 1996, Sessions is a member of the Republican Party. He serves as the ranking minority member on the Senate Budget Committee. Raised in the town of Hybart in Monroe County, Alabama, Sessions graduated from Huntingdon College in Montgomery and the University of Alabama School of Law. In the 1970s he worked in private practice and rose to the rank of captain in the U.S. Army Reserve. From 1981 to 1993 he served as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama. President Ronald Reagan nominated him to a judgeship on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama in 1986, but the Senate confirmation failed after several allegedly racist remarks were attributed to him. Sessions was elected to Attorney General of Alabama in 1994. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996 and easily re-elected in 2002 and 2008. He and his colleague Richard Shelby are the state's first two-term Republican Senators since Reconstruction. Sessions was ranked by National Journal in 2007 as the fifth-most conservative U.S. Senator, siding strongly with the Republican Party on political issues. He supported the major legislative efforts of the George W. Bush administration, including the 2001 and 2003 tax cut packages, the Iraq War, and a proposed national amendment to ban same-sex marriage. He has opposed the Democratic leadership since 2007 on most major legislation, including the establishment of TARP, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act. Formerly the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, he opposed both of Obama's nominees for the Supreme Court.
Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III was born in Selma, Alabama, the son of Abbie (née Powe) and Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, Jr. His father owned a general store and then a farm equipment dealership. Both of Sessions' parents were of primarily English ancestry.
Sessions grew up in the small town of Hybart. In 1964 he became an Eagle Scout. In his adult life, he became a recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America. After attending school in nearby Camden, Sessions studied at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1969. He was active in the Young Republicans and student body president there. Sessions attended the University of Alabama School of Law and graduated with his J.D. in 1973.Sessions entered private practice in Russellville and later in Mobile, where he now lives. He also served in the Army Reserve in the 1970s, achieving the rank of captain. Sessions and his wife Mary have three grown children, Mary Abigail, Ruth Walk, and Sam, as well as three grandchildren, Jane Ritchie, Jim Beau and Grace.
Sessions was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama beginning in 1975. In 1981, President Ronald Reagan nominated Sessions to be the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama. The Senate confirmed him and he held that position for 12 years.
Alabama Attorney General and U.S. Senate
Sessions was elected Attorney General of Alabama in November 1994. In 1996, Sessions won the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, after a runoff, and then defeated Democrat Roger Bedford 53%-46% in the November general election. He succeeded Heflin, who had retired after 18 years in the Senate. In 2002, Sessions won reelection by defeating Democratic State Auditor Susan Parker. In 2008, Sessions defeated Democratic State Senator Vivian Davis Figures to win a third term. Sessions received 63 percent of the vote to Figures' 37 percent. Sessions was only the second freshman Republican senator from Alabama since Reconstruction and gave Alabama two Republican senators, a first since Reconstruction. Sessions was easily reelected in 2002 becoming the first (or second, if one counts his colleague Richard Shelby, who switched from Democrat to Republican in 1994) Republican reelected to the Senate from Alabama.
On October 5, 2005, he 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.Sessions has taken a strong stand against any form of citizenship for illegal immigrants. Sessions was one of the most vocal critics of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007. Sessions voted for the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act in committee, Senate Bill S.3804, which would allow the Attorney general to petition the court to issue a restraining order or injunction against Internet domain names which has material on the site that infringes upon copyright as well as a have the attorney general make a list of sites that his office suspects of having copywritten material but did not get a restraining order against. The second list immunizes any internet provider from having legal action taken against them as a result of their preventing access to any site on the list. The announcement of the bill was rapidly followed by a wave of protest from digital rights activists, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation calling it censorship and stateing that action may be taken against all users of sites in which only some users are uploading infringing material.
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.
During his career, his largest donors have come from the legal, health, real estate and insurance industries. From 2005 to 2010, the corporations employing donors who gave the most to his campaign were the Southern Company utility firm, Balch & Bingham law firm, Harbert Management investment firm, Drummond Company coal mining firm, and WPP Group, a UK-based communications services company.
August 9th, 2011