WASHINGTON — U.S. District Judge William S. Sessions, the Texas conservative President Reagan has named to head the Federal Bureau of Investigation, is expected to win confirmation easily, Senate Judiciary Committee sources said Tuesday.
Hearings on the nomination were scheduled to begin today, and sources on the Senate panel and in law enforcement said they expected no major opposition to Sessions' confirmation to a 10-year term as FBI director.
The committee plans to deal with the Sessions nomination quickly, before it turns its attention to federal appellate Judge Robert H. Bork's nomination to the Supreme Court. The Bork hearings are scheduled to start Tuesday.
No one has signed up to testify against Sessions, a spokesman for the committee said. FBI sources said an extensive background investigation turned up no reason Sessions should not be approved.
The panel has scheduled a full day of hearings on the nomination today, the spokesman said, and various groups are to testify on Thursday. Representatives of Latinos and blacks are expected to criticize FBI hiring practices, but their complaints are not directed at Sessions.
A committee vote on his confirmation is scheduled for the day that the Bork hearings begin.
Terry Eastland, spokesman for Atty. Gen. Edwin Meese III, who led the search for a successor to William H. Webster, said the Justice Department expects "no problems at all" with the confirmation.
"It's very straightforward," Eastland said. "We have every reason to believe the Judiciary Committee will act expeditiously to vote him out of committee and the full Senate will confirm him."
Sessions, 57, is widely lauded for his tenure as chief judge of the western district of Texas, where he has earned high marks as an able administrator. FBI officials generally applauded his nomination.
Reagan announced his choice on July 24, after a nearly five-month search for a successor to Webster, now director of the CIA.