WASHINGTON (CNN) – When greeting Judge Sonia Sotomayor this week, Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama made sure to tell her something loud enough for the assembled reporters to hear.
"You will get a fair hearing before this committee," Sessions told President Obama's Supreme Court nominee with emphatic gestures and tone.
That greeting wasn't just pleasantries. It was a promise born out of his own experience.
President Reagan nominated Sessions to be a federal judge, but the Senate Judiciary Committee rejected him 23 years ago this week.
He is now the top Republican on that panel.
"That is a very odd thing," Sessions told CNN in an interview in his Senate office. "Somebody says it gives new meaning to the word irony."
Talking about that irony brings back a flood of memories that he would rather forget.