Sen. Sessions: We want judges who follow the Constitution

Lawmaker calls Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee list 'fabulous'


This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," May 18, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right. Think about the significance of this.  Moments ago, Donald Trump -- we're talking about the mountain coming to Mohammed -- meeting with Henry Kissinger at his private residence on the East Side of Manhattan for the better part of an hour.

Trump leaving there, and it happens on the very same day we are told he is assembling an economic team, the likes of which include Larry Kudlow, Steve Moore, maybe some others. Give it some time. And then the release of these 11 Supreme Court justice ideas to replace Antonin Scalia.

You see a trend here?

Alabama Republican Senator Jeff Sessions might be that trendsetter. Joins us right now.

Senator, good to have you.

SEN. JEFF SESSIONS, R-ALA.: Good. Neil, nice to be with you. Good day.

CAVUTO: What is it -- what is this about, Senator? I mean, obviously, Donald Trump has come under some criticism that, you know, he's been on his own in this campaign and very effective at it, but he's assembling, I guess, his -- would you call it his foreign policy, economic bona fides?  How would you describe it?

SESSIONS: I would think this is exactly where I have expected him to go and where he's now going.

This list of judges is fabulous. I think all of those who, like myself, believe that the judges should interpret the Constitution and follow the Constitution and serve under the Constitution are going to like this list of highly competent scholars and judges.

And Henry Kissinger is, of course, just a fabulous thinker. Anybody dealing with foreign policy needs to enjoy the insights of Henry Kissinger.  His book "World Order" recently is just a fabulous sweep of history of the United States and the world.

And you hear the people like Kudlow and Stephen Moore, those are terrific economists, well-known within conservative pro-growth circles, and I think that will be well-received, just knowing that they're part of the team also.

CAVUTO: Do you need bigger names, though, Senator? I don't know the degree of your involvement in any of these picks or showcase events. But I'm only ask you that because I see this Financial Times story in which they're showing a survey done of business leaders, many of whom represent trade associations that petition for their needs or requests or wishes to Congress. So it's with a grain of salt, I look at a survey like that.

But, having said that, by a 2-1 margin, those guys prefer Hillary Clinton, most saying not because they love her, but because they have real doubts about him. What do you make of that?

SESSIONS: Well, look, most businesses have adjusted to the current status quo, the way things are going, business as usual. And change makes them nervous.

But when you have top-flight people like Larry Kudlow and others participating in -- with Mr. Trump in developing a new pro-growth strategy, I think they will be very comfortable as time goes by, just as legal scholars are going to be very much impressed with the list that he has listed for the Supreme Court.

CAVUTO: All right. You mentioned this list of the Supreme Court. If you don't mind me going back to that, as someone who sits on the Judiciary Committee, this Don Willett, this Texas Supreme Court pick, potential pick, he's apparently tweeted some zingers at Donald Trump. Many have.

But did you know about that? Do you think the campaign knew about that?  Do you think Donald Trump really cares?

SESSIONS: I doubt he cares. Most legal scholars, the people that would like this list, they're looking for people not to advance a conservative agenda, Neil. That's not what we want. We want judges who follow the Constitution, because, when you have these activist judges that redefine the meaning of words to execute a political agenda that the American people don't favor and want passed, then you have a threat to the legal heritage that we have been so blessed to have.

So, I think the question really would be on this judge from Texas is, he committed to that? Is he a good scholar? Does he have integrity? Can he meet the high standards that we would like to see of a Supreme Court justice?

CAVUTO: Senator, do you know, or has Donald Trump echoed what would be his litmus test, whether key issues, whether pro-life, anything like that, that would be his dividing line on Supreme Court picks?

SESSIONS: What he shared with me, when I first met with him -- and he's repeated it publicly many times -- he likes a Scalia, Thomas type judge, and that he believes judges should, as Justice Roberts said, I would say, calls balls and strikes, doesn't take sides in the ball game.

That's what we want, a neutral umpire who has got the ability to penetrate complex issue and follow the principles and words of the Constitution.  That's what he's pretty much continued...


CAVUTO: Any of those on that list -- any of those on that list favorites of yours, Senator?

SESSIONS: Well, I got to say, Bill Pryor, I hired him as attorney general in Alabama. He was a great attorney general. He's been a brilliant member of the 11th Circuit, editor in chief of The Tulane Law Review. So, he's a wonderful person.

But there are a lot of good ones on that list. And that's one I know well.

CAVUTO: You won't tip your hand.

Let me ask you, I mean, you were one of the first of the establishment, for want of a better term, Senator, to say Donald Trump is not bad, he's a good guy, let's give him a chance. Many of your colleagues in both the Senate and the House were reluctant to follow along.

Even now, some entertaining alternatives to Donald Trump, even a third- party alternative to Donald Trump. What do you think of that and this effort maybe on the part of Mr. Trump today to win them over?

SESSIONS: Well, I think this is a very good day in communicating that he intends to be a very serious president and he's going to be in the mainstream of what most of us would like to see.

But he's going to -- but it's important that the Washington establishment know that somebody's going to run this government efficiently and effectively. There's going to be accountability. We're going to watch how the money is spent.

And he -- and we're going to grow this economy. We had 0.5 percent growth the first quarter. That's anemic. We need to do better than that. And there are a lot of things that obviously can be done that would help economic growth, and then millions of Americans are not doing well now.  Their wages are still down from 2000, $3,000 or $4,000 median income down.

So, no wonder people are unhappy.

CAVUTO: All right, Senator Sessions, thank you very, very much.

SESSIONS: Thank you.

CAVUTO: All right.

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