Published: Fri, February 16, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Sessions Praises 'Anglo-American Heritage Of Law Enforcement'

Sessions Praises 'Anglo-American Heritage Of Law Enforcement'

While speaking to the National Sheriffs' Association earlier today, Attorney General Jeff Sessions praised the sheriffs' "Anglo-American heritage", a phrase that no doubt brought a smile to the lips of white supremacists everywhere.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions may want to stick to the script next time. "Since our founding, the independently elected sheriff has been seen as the people's protector, who keeps law enforcement close to and amenable to the people", Sessions said.

Sessions' phrasing deviated from his prepared remarks as published by the Justice Department, where the line was "The Sheriff is a critical part of our legal heritage". "We must never erode this historic office".

Sessions also delivered condolences to the families of officers Anthony Morelli and Eric Joering killed in Westerville, OH last week.

Given that Sessions was once deemed too racist for a federal judgeship under Reagan, it's not insane to assume that the attorney general was applauding sheriffs for bolstering whiteness or white "heritage" in law enforcement, especially when he could have stayed on a script that left much less to interpretation. The word "sheriff" combines the Anglo-Saxon words "shire", meaning "county", and "reeve", meaning "guardian", Cato analyst David Kopel notes in The Washington Post. Sessions has denied being racially insensitive.

A Department of Justice spokesman, Ian Prior, had to explain to legacy media outlets like CNN that "Anglo-American" is another way of saying common law and is regularly used among those in the legal community.

Yes, who would possibly use that phrase in a sentence? "If the government grabs you, then you have the right to at least ask, 'Why was I grabbed?' And say, 'Maybe you've got the wrong person'".

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He had been expected to say: "The sheriff is a critical part of our legal heritage".

Sessions seems to have made the comments on the fly.

Bernice King - the daughter of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr - quoted a letter her mother had written in 1986 opposing Mr Sessions' failed appointment to become a federal judge.

Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, tweeted that the remarks were "a dog whistle" and "appalling", while actress Alyssa Milano said that Sessions should be "fired immediately".

At his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee previous year, Sessions vowed to enforce hate crimes laws and attempted to remake himself as a civil rights champion.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer used the term in a speech in 2016.

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