WASHINGTON — Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, has taken controversial positions on immigration and the rights of LGBT people. He is alleged to have made racially insensitive comments, and he once unsuccessfully tried to prosecute civil rights activists for what he alleged was voting fraud.

On Tuesday, he'll be pressed to answer for that record as he tries to convince his Senate colleagues that he is worthy of becoming the next attorney general of the United States.

Sessions' hearing is slated to begin at 9:30 a.m. and extend through Wednesday. He will be introduced by fellow Sens. Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, then take questions.

After that, 15 witnesses will speak about Sessions, including a former attorney general, the president of a national police union, and several civil rights and other advocates.

The Senate Judiciary Committee rejected Sessions for a federal judgeship in 1986 amid allegations of racially insensitive remarks, and civil rights advocates and others have mounted a vigorous campaign to deny him the attorney general post. But he is expected to win confirmation.

Sessions is considered one of the more well-liked members of the Senate, his polite and respectful style having won over colleagues whose political views differ from his. Democrats are thought to have little chance to flip any Republican members against the nominee. Collins, for example, might have been a target because of her moderate views, but she is among those leading the effort to get Sessions confirmed.

That is not to say those opposed to Sessions will let the hearing pass without a fight. A group of more than 1,100 law school professors from across the country sent a letter to Congress urging legislators to block Sessions, and six protesters from the NAACP were arrested last week during a sit-in at his Mobile, Ala., office.

The NAACP's president, Cornell William Brooks, who was among the arrested demonstrators, is expected to testify at the confirmation hearing. So, too, will David Cole, legal director of the ACLU, which takes no formal positions on whether nominees should be confirmed but issued a report critical of Sessions. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., also is expected to testify against Sessions.

Sessions, 70, earned his law degree from the University of Alabama and worked at a small law firm before becoming an assistant U.S. attorney in Mobile. He was appointed as a U.S. attorney in 1981 by President Ronald Reagan and held that job until 1993. He served as Alabama's attorney general from 1995 to 1997, when he was elected as a senator.

That extensive public service has provided his critics no shortage of fodder for his confirmation hearing.

Sessions will likely be questioned about his views on immigration. In the Senate, he has fought efforts to reform immigration in any way that might benefit those in the country illegally, and he has advocated moderating the flow of those coming to the U.S. legally.

He could, as attorney general, increase enforcement of the illegal entry statute and help the Trump administration abandon an Obama executive action that allows people who came to the United States as children to receive work permits and a reprieve from possible deportation.

Civil rights leaders hope that legislators will question Sessions on his views on the landmark Voting Rights Act - which he has called “intrusive” but “necessary” - and a voting fraud case he brought against civil rights activists when he was U.S. attorney in the 1980s.

On Monday, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund submitted a 32-page report to the Senate Judiciary Committee calling on the Senate to reject Sessions. “For more than 40 years in public life, Jeff Sessions has demonstrated unrelenting hostility to civil rights and racial justice,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

Sessions' comments on race were at the center of his federal judgeship confirmation hearing in the 1980s, when he faced a barrage of criticism for quipping that he once respected the Ku Klux Klan, “but if they smoke pot, I sure can't.” Sessions' defenders argued the comment was a joke, made in the context of a case in which Sessions was prosecuting members of the white supremacist organization. But a black lawyer working in his office did not see it that way and told Congress he was deeply offended.

Sessions, though, has no shortage of supporters, including law enforcement groups and the National Association of Assistant United States Attorneys, which said he will reinvigorate the Justice Department's bread-and-butter mission of prosecuting cases. Former attorney general Michael Mukasey and former deputy attorney general Larry Thompson are expected to testify in support of Sessions at the confirmation hearing.

Collins, who will introduce him, said in an interview with The Washington Post that she felt the criticism of her colleague was misplaced.

“He's a decent individual with a strong commitment to the rule of law. He's a leader of integrity,” Collins said. “I think the attacks against him are not well founded and are unfair.”