May 13th, 2009
04:12 PM ET
11 years ago

Sessions announces Judiciary staff

(CNN) - Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, the new ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced Wednesday the committee's senior leadership team.

Full statement after the jump

WASHINGTON—Just days after being named Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) today announced the committee’s senior leadership team, a group of skilled, well-qualified lawyers with nearly four decades of Washington experience among them.

The top echelon of Sessions’ judiciary staff will consist of Brian Benczkowski, William Smith, Joe Matal, and Matt Miner. The group plans to begin work immediately on the upcoming Supreme Court nomination, as well as a host of other issues pending before the committee.

“This is a fantastic team of lawyers that is coming onboard at an exciting and critical time,” Sessions said. “They are each highly qualified, knowledgeable of the legislative process, and skilled at getting things done in Washington,” Sessions said. “I look forward to working with the team during this critical Supreme Court nomination process, as well as on the myriad of legal, law enforcement, and national security issues that come through the Judiciary Committee on a daily basis.”

Brian Benczkowski will serve as Staff Director. Before joining Sessions’ staff, Benczkowski served as Chief of Staff to Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs at the Department of Justice, and Chief of Staff at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Benczkowski also served as Majority Counsel on the House Judiciary Committee, advising Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner. He received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Virginia, and a Juris Doctor from the Washington University School of Law.

William Smith will serve as Chief Counsel. Previously, Smith held the title of Executive Director of Congressional Relations for Americans for Limited Government. He practiced law at the Birmingham firm of Starnes and Atchison. From 2001 to 2006, Smith served as Sessions’ Chief Counsel for the Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts. Smith earned a B.A. from the University of Alabama, a Master of Library Science from the University of North Carolina, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Alabama School of Law.

Joe Matal will serve as General Counsel. Prior to joining the Sessions’ staff, Matal worked as Counsel for U.S. Sen. John Kyl (R-AZ) on the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology, and Homeland Security. Previously, he served as Policy Director to Sen. Peter Fitzgerald (R-IL). Matal earned a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy and English from Stanford University, and a Juris Doctor from the Boalt Hall School of Law.

Matt Miner will serve as the Deputy Staff Director. Miner is being promoted from his current post of Chief Counsel on the Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts, where Sessions was Ranking Member. Prior to joining Sessions’ staff in December 2008, Miner served on the Judiciary Committee staff for Sen. Arlen Specter. Before coming to Washington, Miner was an Assistant United States Attorney in Montgomery. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Cincinnati, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan School of Law.

Sessions, named Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee earlier this month, is a third-term senator from Alabama. Before joining the Senate in 1997, he served as Attorney General for the State of Alabama. In 1981, President Ronald Reagan appointed Sessions to serve as United States Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, a post he held for 12 years.

Filed under: Jeff Sessions
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Bleebo

    Sounds like a set up to me.

    May 13, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  2. Frozone

    Jeff Sessions is a disgrace to the United States. He referred to the KKK as heroes and called those who would fight for civil rights communists. It's no surprise he's a GOP leader, but the GOP should be ashamed.

    May 13, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  3. D. Tree

    Looks like republicans are gearing up to give president Obama a hard time confirming his supreme court nominee. Their party was voted out, but they still act like they run the place.... house guests who overstay their visit!

    May 13, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  4. bern

    Jeff Sessions needs to be sitting in a jail cell next to Cheney

    May 13, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    So this means again old men sitting on a committee who are not in tune with today's issues.

    May 13, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  6. Ruthie

    Mr. Sessions is the worst example of what this America is supposed to be. This will be nasty...if he has is way. He is a bigot and I cannot belive he is still in Senate and has this type of power.

    May 13, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  7. arithmetic is liberal

    If Obama would only nominate Bill Clinton to the Supreme Court...

    ..we'd get our filibuster proof majority...

    ...after Session's head unexpectedly exploded.

    May 13, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  8. Benjine-boston ma

    I don't trust him just like I don't trust John Roberts.....

    May 13, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  9. obamamama

    Wow the Democrat whiners are out in force....

    May 13, 2009 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  10. Chuck

    A person's character does not change. Therefore, Jeff Sessions is unfit to be on the Senate Judiciary Committee, let alone, a US Senator.
    His past in Alabama confirms his Republican partisanship and he will no doubt be voting "no" to whomever President Obama nominates as the next judge of the SCOTUS.

    The days of racism and bigotry are over and people like Sessions should be numbered. Hear that, ALABAMA!

    May 13, 2009 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  11. Smooth Jazz

    Session is a racist. It will be interesting if Obama picks a Latina and she gets grilled by the Klansman.

    May 13, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  12. Marge

    Since the republicans say they are going to block a perfectly acceptable nominee just because they can, the democrats should find a way to block sessions choices. This country will never recover as long as the bunch of trash called republicans occupy the congress. Yes there are a few who show good sense, but they are few and far between.

    May 13, 2009 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  13. Dee, NJ

    South...Southern...Old GOP! A WOMEN is needed!

    May 13, 2009 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |