Sessions will make a fine attorney general

Sessions will make a fine attorney general, Washington Examiner, November 21, 2016


Whenever there is a chance to publish an inflammatory piece about Alabama Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, the New York Times and left-wing politicians make sure to use his full name, filled as it is with references to the Confederacy.

But Sessions, like Barack Hussein Obama and all the rest of us, did not choose his first, middle or last names. And like all of us, he has nothing to be ashamed about.

What he does have is the right experience and temperament to serve as attorney general. Even if we disagree with him on some issues, he represents a reassuring choice by President-elect Trump, who considered others who were less suited for the role.

Sessions served as an Army Reserve captain during the Vietnam War era. He is a former country and city lawyer in private practice. He also served as a U.S. attorney and as Alabama’s attorney general, which means that he understands the obligations that go with the role of a top prosecutor.

He knows that these are distinct from the skill set required to win elections as a vote-hungry politician, which sadly is not a given for all public servants nowadays.

Even as a politician, Sessions is not known as a big self-promoter. He is amicable with reporters, but it’s also safe to stand between him and the nearest camera, which cannot be said of others. And he would be the last person one might expect, in a highly divided and partisan nation where this is an issue, to wield the tools of law enforcement in a petty or vindictive way.

Some will oppose Sessions because they disagree with his conservatism and support of Trump. That’s fair game. But it is deeply unjust that a lame joke he once told about the Ku Klux Klan changed the course of his career, excluding him from the federal bench and tarring him as a racist. People have been prone to hurl that rhetorical grenade at him without checking the origin of the claim.

Sessions quipped to a colleague that he turned against the KKK only because he discovered some of its members smoked pot. His interlocutor understood it was a joke, but Sens. Joe Biden and Ted Kennedy, two of the most disingenuous and partisan pols ever to sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee, seized on it as a pretext for torpedoing his nomination ahead of an anticipated fight over the Supreme Court.

Sessions has been praised by several civil rights leaders. His only known interaction with the Klan was his oversight, as Alabama’s attorney general, of the execution of the KKK boss in the state.

It was the first execution of a white man for murdering a black man in Alabama in more than 80 years, and the only case in the entire nation in which a KKK member was executed for killing a black man in the 20th Century.

We disagree with Sessions for his opposition to sentencing and criminal justice reform, and also to his support of civil asset forfeiture, by which members of the public neither convicted nor even charged with a crime can be deprived of their property.

But Sessions’ opinions on these matters will matter less than those of his new boss, which remain unclear. The senator’s departure from the Senate Judiciary Committee might even expedite some positive reforms.

In terms of experience, fairness, and administrative capability Sessions is a fine candidate for attorney general. He is sure to emphasize workplace enforcement of immigration laws and to enforce the laws on the books against sanctuary cities. These were near to the top the agenda on which Trump was elected, and his voters will get their way.

The Department of Justice’s reputation is in tatters after its embarrassing and deadly Operation Fast and Furious scandal, to say nothing of its gymnastics in protecting Hillary Clinton during the election. Sessions’ leadership can only make things better.

Explore posts in the same categories: Attorney General, Department of Justice, Immigration laws, Sanctuary cities, Senator Jeff Sessions

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