The firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions drew protests around the country last night from people worried about what it might mean for Special Counsel Robert Mueller, but we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that Sessions has done more to undermine civil rights than possibly anyone from Alabama since George Wallace. And right before he left, Sessions gave us a helpful reminder of just how horrible he is.
The New York Times reported last night that Sessions’ final act before leaving the Justice Department was to sign a memo which “drastically limited the ability of federal law enforcement officials to use court-enforced agreements to overhaul local police departments accused of abuses and civil rights violations.”
These agreements—usually known as consent decrees—were used by the Obama administration to try to force change in the culture and practices of some of the most violent and corrupt police departments, such as in Chicago, Ferguson, MO, and Baltimore. Sessions, predictably, believes that everything in those departments is just dandy. What’s one more Laquan McDonald, Michael Brown, or Freddie Gray to him?
Some more details about what Sessions’ memo actually does, per the Times:
Mr. Sessions imposed three stringent requirements for the agreements. Top political appointees must sign off the deals, rather than the career lawyers who have done so in the past; department lawyers must lay out evidence of additional violations beyond unconstitutional behavior; and the deals must have a sunset date, rather than being in place until police or other law enforcement agencies have shown improvement.
Sessions hates these agreements so much, in fact, that he vocally opposed Chicago’s consent decree, and has blamed Baltimore’s for rising crime. “Colossal mistakes have been made by politicians and leaders that have had particular catastrophic consequences for the people of cities like Chicago, Baltimore and St. Louis,” he said in a speech earlier this year. In the same speech, he also wrongly said that Baltimore’s consent decree was signed with the ACLU rather than the Justice Department. “There’s a clear lesson here: If you want more shootings and more death, then listen to the ACLU, Black Lives Matter or Antifa. If you want public safety, then listen to the police professionals who have been studying this for 35 years,” he said.
Civil rights advocates, understandably, are not pleased.
“When Jeff Sessions intervened in the locally negotiated consent decree in Chicago, it belied the love of federalism that he professes and uses to justify this effort to effectively end the use of consent decrees,” Vanita Gupta, the former assistant attorney general for civil rights under Obama and the current head of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, told the Times. “The need for consent decrees and the oversight they guarantee has not disappeared.”
Just another reminder that Jeff Sessions is a horrible person and it’s a very good thing that he’s not the top law enforcement official in this country anymore. Now, it’s time to take a big sip of coffee and check out the certified genius who replaced him.