Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, meets with Attorney General nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016 in Washington. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)

By Andrea Noble - The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said Tuesday he intends to move quickly to hold a hearing on the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general.

Sen. Chuck Grassley said he intends to schedule a hearing on the nominee ahead of President-elect Donald Trump’s Jan. 20 swearing in, noting that hearings were previously held before inaugurations for Eric Holder and John Ashcroft. Mr. Grassley met with Mr. Sessions on Tuesday and discussed issues ranging from congressional oversight to criminal justice reform, according to a statement provided by his office.

While Republicans on the Judiciary Committee have signaled broad support for the nomination of their colleague, Democrats have pledged to fight the nomination and could bring up concerns about Mr. Sessions’ past that have been highlighted by civil liberties groups over the last two weeks.

Allegations of racism emerged in 1986 when Mr. Sessions was nominated for appointment to a federal judgeship. His nomination was ultimately withdrawn.

Mr. Grassley said he will ensure Mr. Sessions receives “the fair and thorough vetting process he deserves.”

“Democratic members of the committee have pledged a fair process,” Mr. Grassley said. “Based on those commitments, I trust the other side will resist what some liberal interest groups are clearly hoping for — an attack on his character.”

Recent nomination hearings have lasted between one and two days and have included testimony from between three and nine witnesses. Mr. Grassley said he intends to follow similar protocol for this nomination.

A hearing date will be set once Mr. Sessions finishes and returns a committee questionnaire, Mr. Grassley said.