Jeff Sessions Makes Unsettling Comment Praising "Anglo-American Heritage of Law Enforcement"

Trump hosts National Sheriffs' Association for White House roundtable talk

What did Sessions' 'Anglo-American heritage' comment mean?

Liberals on social media accused Attorney General Jeff Sessions of explicit or implicit racism on Monday after he noted the "Anglo-American heritage" of the office of the sheriff.

- Talib Kweli Greene (@TalibKweli) February 12, 2018 Jeff Sessions literally called sheriffs a "critical part of the Anglo-American heritage of law enforcement".

Rather than making a racial statement, however, Sessions was more likely referring to the fact that the position of "sheriff" is almost unique to areas that have historic ties to England.

Sessions also delivered condolences to the families of officers Anthony Morelli and Eric Joering killed in Westerville, OH last week. The word "sheriff" combines the Anglo-Saxon words "shire", meaning "county", and "reeve", meaning "guardian", Cato analyst David Kopel notes in The Washington Post.

On the issue of legal representation for poor defendants, Sessions has made clear that protecting the constitutional rights of the indigent is not a priority.

Prior pointed to a number of cases in which the phrase "Anglo-American law" has been used by legal scholars. "I think you all agree ... lottery where you pick it out and you say good, we have a new American citizen".

Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, tweeted a quote from her mother's 1986 opposition to Sessions's nomination for a federal judgeship.

[A process] "that adheres to rule of law, habeas corpus, basic principles of Anglo-American legal system, but doing it in a way that doesn't result in releasing people who are intent on blowing us up". "Civil asset forfeiture takes the material support of the criminals and makes it the material support of law enforcement". They will know what we do here today, and they will treat all of us accordingly in the future-our soldiers, our diplomats, our journalists, anybody who travels beyond these borders.

The mention of "Anglo-American heritage" was not a part of prepared remarks provided by the Justice Department. Why don't people just say what they believe like #JeffSessions "The Sherriff's department is a critical part of the Anglo American heritage of law enforcement". Those actions, Bennett said, show Sessions was, at best, tone deaf, in his use of "Anglo-American", especially considering the word wasnt in his script.

The notion that he would use a racially charged phrase guaranteed to thrill the white nationalist base of the Republican party should come as no surprise.

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