Franken, Klobuchar won't OK Jeff Sessions – but does it matter?

Cabinet nominations usually get approved without much fuss.
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Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar aren't really feeling Jeff Sessions as attorney general.

Minnesota's two U.S. senators said publicly Friday they will vote "No" when it comes time to decide whether Sessions should become the nation's top law enforcement officer. Sessions, a longtime Republican senator from Alabama, is Donald Trump's nominee for the role of U.S. attorney general.

Franken and Klobuchar both got a chance to question Sessions during hearings this week. And apparently any concerns they had weren't alleviated.

"I just don't feel comfortable that he would protect all Americans' rights,' Franken said on Morning Joe Friday. In a statement, Franken specifically mentioned the LGBTQ community, minorities, immigrants, and women as groups he's worried about. (Here's Franken's full interview on the show, if you're interested.)

Klobuchar also revealed Friday she would vote "No," and in a statement to the Star Tribune noted Sessions voted against the reuathorization of the Violence Against Women Act in 2013, despite bipartisan support.

Other Democratic leaders – including Sens. Corey Booker, Chuck Schumer, and Richard Blumenthal – also came out against Sessions this week, Huffington Post reported.

Sessions still has a good chance to be confirmed

On the surface, it's not surprising to see two Democratic senators choosing to go against a Republican president's proposal.

But cabinet nominations, historically, have gotten approved with ease.

As FiveThirtyEight writes, there have been 109 cabinet appointments from 1977 through 2013 (that's Jimmy Carter through Barack Obama, the six most recent presidents).

Of those, the Senate has confirmed all but six. And of those 103 confirmed nominees, 93 of them were approved unanimously or without serious opposition.

So it's rare for nominees to not get the job. In fact, only nine times in history has the Senate outright rejected a nominee, federal records show. It's more common for a nominee to withdraw if they see a long, messy confirmation fight ahead of them. And it's usually because they have some serious baggage, NBC News explains.

In addition, Republicans control the U.S. Senate with 52 seats – and only a simple majority (that's more than half; so in this case 51 "Yeas") is needed to approve a cabinet nomination, Ballotpedia says.

AL.com says the Senate will probably hold a confirmation vote for Sessions shortly after Trump's Jan. 20 inauguration.

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