Story highlights

Rice wrote that Sessions "is a man who is committed to justice"

Rice is also from Alabama and called Sessions a "friend"

Washington CNN  — 

Condoleezza Rice, who served as secretary of state to former President George W. Bush, endorsed former Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions Monday to be President-elect Donald Trump’s attorney general.

Rice, who is also from Alabama, wrote a letter of appreciation to Sen. Chuck Grassley about Sessions, where she said that Sessions, a “friend,” was someone she admired “greatly.”

“He is a man who is committed to justice and knows that law and order are necessary to guarantee freedom and liberty,” she wrote.

Rice, the first African-American woman to serve as secretary of state, also said that Sessions has worked hard to heal the wounds in Alabama brought on by the “prejudice and injustice against the descendents of slaves.”

Rice’s endorsement of Sessions could help Sessions gain the support he needs from the Senate as his confirmation hearings begin Tuesday. Sessions, who was the first US senator to endorse Trump, will likely be dogged by old allegations of racism during his hearings.

She noted Sessions spearheaded the effort to award the Congressional Gold Medal to one of her “personal heroes,” Rosa Parks.

“I know that Sen. Sessions will uphold the laws of our great country and will work to ensure that every person here in the United States is given the voice that is deserved,” she wrote.

CNN’s Ted Barrett, Pamela Brown, Evan Perez and Ariane de Vogue contributed to this report.