Grassley Plans AG Confirmation Hearing Before Inauguration

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) has signaled he plans to hold a confirmation hearing before Inauguration Day on the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) as U.S. Attorney General atop the Justice Department, which routinely vets media mergers for antitrust issues.

Grassley on Tuesday (Nov. 29) met with Sessions, a senior Judiciary Committee member, and said that while he had not yet set a firm date date, the hearing would be before the President-elect is sworn in Jan. 20.

"“I was glad to have Sen. Sessions in my office today," Grassley said. "Members of the Judiciary Committee know him to be an honorable man, and a person of integrity.  He knows the Justice Department well, and cares deeply about the even-handed application of the law."

Given that some members of the Judiciary Committee have served with Sessions for a couple of decades, the committee won't have a big learning curve reviewing his nomination.

Republican FCC commissioner Ajit Pai, a leading contender for interim FCC chair and perhaps permanent chair, worked with Sessions on the Senate Judiciary Committee and has called him "a good man and a superb senator: honorable, thoughtful, devoted to the Constitution, and deeply committed to equal justice and the rule of law."

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee was not so happy with the Sessions pick, saying he would be a boon to big business and likening him to "the proverbial fox guarding the henhouse."

"Senator Sessions will receive the fair and thorough vetting process he deserves," Grassley said.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.