On Thursday, we got our first concrete glimpses into the cabinet of President-elect Donald Trump, moving us beyond speculation and leaked names for the first time. By Friday, most of the attention turned to Sen. Jeff Sessions, a Trump loyalist who has been named to the position of Attorney General.

Sessions was bound to find his way into one cabinet position or another; he was an early supporter of Donald Trump who is aligned with the new president on matters of immigration. The Trump transition effort has, thus far, been heavily colored by loyalty. Those who stuck by Trump when most Republicans were diving overboard (or riding the fence) are now being rewarded.

That’s to be expected, but so is the backlash. And we’re seeing it now. We’re seeing the media go after Stephen Bannon, Gen. Michael Flynn, and now Jeff Sessions. And in all three cases, the criticism being launched against them is not one of substance or competence, but the tired accusation of racism. Never mind that the “evidence” for this racism is extraordinarily thin in all three cases (as it always was for Trump himself).

In Sessions’s case, the allegations come from Senate Judiciary Committee hearings in the 1980s, after the Alabama senator was nominated by President Reagan for a federal judgeship. The hearings brought forth racially-insensitive comments Sessions supposedly made while working as a prosecutor in his home state:

In testimony before the committee, former colleagues said that Mr. Sessions had referred to the N.A.A.C.P., the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and other civil rights groups as “un-American” and “Communist-inspired.” An African-American federal prosecutor then, Thomas H. Figures, said Mr. Sessions had referred to him as “boy” and testified that Mr. Sessions said the Ku Klux Klan was fine “until I found out they smoked pot.” Mr. Sessions dismissed that remark as a joke.

These whispers will be unlikely to keep Sessions away from the Justice Department; Congress will be wary of crossing President Trump this early in the game.

But for both Trump’s supporters and his detractors, the thought of Sessions replacing Loretta Lynch should be cause for excitement. Sessions is dedicated to the preservation of law like no one else in the Senate. He’ll be the first man to stand up to the president-elect should Trump move away from his constitutional limits. After eight years of watching the Justice Department act as a rubber stamp for Obama’s lawless agenda, it will be nice to see principle return to the office of attorney general.