Louisiana's junior U.S. Sen. John N. Kennedy took part in the high-profile confirmation hearing of Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions on Tuesday, lobbing mostly softball questions at his fellow Republican about his views on law enforcement, the Second Amendment and wasteful spending.
"My name is John Kennedy. That's really my name," Kennedy, a member of the powerful Judiciary Committee vetting Sessions this week, said in his first major debut since taking office a week ago.
Kennedy, who was last month to replace former U.S. Sen. David Vitter, had already expressed his support for Sessions, currently a senator from Alabama, to the nation's top law enforcement job.
President-elect Donald Trump's pick for Attorney General is pitting Louisiana's lone Democra…
He said he had been impressed by the level of support that Sessions has among law enforcement.
Kennedy noted that St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne had traveled to Washington from Louisiana to lobby in favor of Sessions.
Sessions has faced backlash by some, including the Congressional Black Caucus that is chaired by New Orleans Democrat Cedric Richmond, over his past remarks regarding race.
Several protesters had to be removed from the confirmation hearing, which stretched on from Tuesday morning into the late afternoon.
Kennedy alluded to tensions between law enforcement and the communities that they serve that have sparked demonstrations across the country, including in Baton Rouge after a Baton Rouge policeman last year fatally shot Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man.
The U.S. Department of Justice has not yet released its findings in the shooting, which will dictate whether either of the two officers involved will be charged with federal civil rights violations.
"You know, when a radical Islamic terrorist drives a truck into a group of people and kills them, we're told that we should not judge all Muslims by the act of a few, and I agree with that" Kennedy said during Sessions' confirmation hearing. "Don't you think that the same rules ought to apply to all the other 99.9 percent of law enforcement officials out there who just get up every day and go to work and try to protect us?"
Congress convened for its 115th session on Tuesday, with three new Louisiana Republicans tak…
Sessions agreed, stressing the need for public officials to be "cautious about demeaning whole departments and whole groups of people."
"Within most any department you can find in America, surely most of the people are just wonderful servants, public servants, trying to do the right thing," he said.
Kenney managed to work in a line he frequently used during this fall's campaign against Democratic rival Foster Campbell in quizzing Sessions on his views of gun owner rights.
"In Louisiana, senator, we believe that love is the answer, but we also believe that we have the right under the Constitution to own a gun, just in case," Kennedy said. "Could you share with me your thoughts on the Second Amendment?"
Sessions said he views the Second Amendment as a historic right but that in some cases, including criminals convicted of carrying weapons during the commission of a crime, it is appropriate to be restrained.
Kennedy ended on a positive note, wishing Sessions luck.
"I have followed your career with respect and admiration for a lot of years," Kennedy said. "I just want to tell you that. You will be a great attorney."
Richmond, meanwhile, held a news conference on Thursday to express its opposition to Sessions' nomination as attorney general. Richmond further vowed to "hold all those who vote to confirm him accountable."
Sessions was blocked from a federal judge position in the 1980s following testimony that he had a history laced with racially offensive remarks.
"The best way to know what someone is going to do in the future is look at what they've done in the past," Richmond said. "His beliefs are discriminatory. His actions are discriminatory."