Another leading Alabama Democrat endorses Jeff Sessions

Sue Bell Cobb, former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, has endorsed Sen. Jeff Sessions in a letter to Sen. Charles Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Montgomery Advertiser describes Cobb as “one of Alabama’s most prominent Democrats.” She served on the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals before being elected to the Alabama Supreme Court in 2006. She resigned in 2011.

Describing her relations with Sessions when both were working in Alabama, Cobb states: “We were then as we are now, members of different parties, but always willing to assist each other as we attempted to constantly do the right thing for the people of our beloved state.”

Cobb applauds Sessions’ work in Congress to reduce the backlogs in state forensics labs. She also notes the Senator’s support for alternative programs to sentence non-violent drug offenders with something other than prison time. To the extent that Blacks constitute a disproportionate number of non-violent drug offenders, these programs that Sessions has promoted are of particular benefit to the African-American community.

Cobb adds:

Sen. Sessions has continually demonstrated his understanding of the need for and his support for these data driven sentencing options which save lives and tax dollars. He has always responded when I called; party boundaries were never a consideration or factor in his decision.

Cobb joins at least two other prominent Alabama Democrats who have endorsed Sessions: Quinton Ross, Democratic minority leader in the Alabama Senate (and an African American) and Albert Turner Jr. of the Perry County Commission (also an African-American), whose father Sessions prosecuted unsuccessfully for voter fraud.

These endorsements pose an obvious problem for Democrats attempting to block Sessions’ confirmation. Another big problem is the high personal regard in which the Alabama man is held by Senators from both parties.

The Washington Post describes this problem in article called “Jeff Sessions should have been a tough sell in the Senate, but he’s too nice.” Post reporter Paul Kane notes that despite consistent disagreement with Sessions on important issues, Sen. Susan Collins is a leading advocate for his confirmation. She says of Sessions:

He’s a decent individual with a strong commitment to the rule of law. He’s a leader of integrity. I think the attacks against him are not well-founded and are unfair.

Kane also cites the very liberal Chris Coons of Delaware. He and Sessions have spent hours during the past six years talking at the Senate’s weekly Bible study and working out together in the gym. They are friends. Coons says, “I genuinely like him.”

Coons probably will vote against Sessions because of huge differences between the two on important issues, which is okay. But those attacking Sessions as a “racist” have an almost impossible sell, given the way he is regarded by those who know him in Washington, D.C. and in Alabama.

What’s clear, but what the Post’s Kane doesn’t want to say, is that being “too nice” is inconsistent with being a racist. Chris Coons, Susan Collins, Sue Bell Cobb, Quinton Ross, and Albert Turner Jr. wouldn’t like Jeff Sessions — much less endorse him in all but the case of Coons — if he were a racist.

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