(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., delivered unprecedented testimony Wednesday against the nomination of his Senate colleague, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., for attorney general, saying that his "conscience" outweighed Senate tradition.
"I know that some of my colleagues aren’t happy that I am breaking with Senate tradition to testify on the nomination of my colleague but I believe [t]hat the choice of standing with Senate norms or standing up for what my conscience tells me, I will always choose my conscious and country," Booker said.
Booker said he believed Sessions has "not demonstrated a commitment" to a central prerequisite of the job -- to demand equal rights and justice for all citizens.
"In fact, at numerous times in his career, he has demonstrated a hostility towards these convictions," Booker said of Sessions.
The New Jersey senator said he was "deeply motivated" by the many issues our next attorney general will influence, especially the crisis of mass incarceration.
Booker said that while he and Sessions disagreed on the issues, they have always exercised a "collegiality and a mutual respect." In fact, Booker spoke of legislation that he and Sessions co-sponsored to award the Congressional Medal of Honor to the "foot soldiers who marched at Selma."
It was an emotional plea, in which Booker said that those marchers in Selma inspired him as a young lawyer to seek justice for all in New Jersey, and begin representing black families looking to integrate white neighborhoods who were turned away and denied housing.
"I am literally sitting here because of people, marchers in Alabama," he said.
Booker said that his colleague's record "indicates that he won't" pursue justice for women, defend the equal rights of gay and lesbian and transgender Americans, defend voting rights or defend the rights of immigrants as attorney general.
While Booker passionately testified against Sessions, others on the panel came to the Alabama senator's defense.
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