Cole has also advocated holding the trials of accused terrorists, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, in civilian courts rather than before military tribunals, a view that is highly unpopular among Senate Republicans.  

"I do believe we should oppose his confirmation and his permanent appointment," Sen. Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsOvernight Cybersecurity: DOJ takes down two online criminal markets | Kansas breach exposed 5M Social Security numbers Dem senator: Trump acting like he's still on ‘The Apprentice’ Booker wants more scrutiny of Amazon-Whole Foods merger MORE (R-Ala.) said Monday afternoon. "I am not going to vote for another nominee who spent his or her time defending terrorists."

Sessions contends that Cole is just the next in a long string of Obama nominees to the Justice Department who have somehow been involved in the defense of accused terrorists.

"I didn't look for people spending their spare time voluntarily defending terrorists," Sessions added, referring to appointments made during his own service as attorney general of Alabama.

Cole, whose nomination was already blocked once by Republican senators last year, is currently serving as the deputy attorney general. Obama circumvented the Senate through the end of 2011 by appointing Cole while the Senate was in recess.

That fact did not go unnoticed by Republicans who oppose Cole’s nomination.

Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyFeinstein: Trump Jr. will be subpoenaed if he refuses to testify The next battle in the fight against human trafficking The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Iowa) said he did not want to reward Obama's behavior — that is, circumventing the Senate — by voting for cloture on the nomination.

As deputy attorney general, Cole essentially runs the day-to-day operations of the Department of Justice, as well as supervising the National Security Division.

Other complaints expressed by Republicans on Monday revolved around Cole's job as an independent monitor at AIG, the insurance giant that had to be bailed out during the recent financial crisis. 

Several Democrats also came to the floor Monday afternoon to defend Cole. 

Referring to the successful military operation that killed Osama bin Laden, Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidConservative Senate candidate calls on GOP to end filibuster Ex-Reid aide: McConnell's 'original sin' was casting ObamaCare as 'partisan, socialist takeover' GOP faces growing demographic nightmare in West MORE (D-Nev.) called for a swift confirmation of Cole. 

"In the last week, our country has been reminded of the incredibly important role our intelligence community plays," Reid said. "It is unthinkable that partisanship and legislative ploys are keeping a public servant as well-qualified as Jim Cole out of this important national security role. I hope the Senate will confirm him quickly.”