April 11, 2017 6 Comments
Good God, is Sessions just the worst Attorney General ever? How can one man be so wrong about so much?! In a way, I think he is worse than Trump, because there’s really not a lot beyond xenophobia and “deals” that Trump really believes. But Sessions firmly believes all the wrong stuff.
I was going to write a post about how amazingly misguided he is on the war on drugs:
When the Obama administration launched a sweeping policy to reduce harsh prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenders, rave reviews came from across the political spectrum. Civil rights groups and the Koch brothers praised Obama for his efforts, saying he was making the criminal justice system more humane.
But there was one person who watched these developments with some horror. Steven H. Cook, a former street cop who became a federal prosecutor based in Knoxville, Tenn., saw nothing wrong with how the system worked — not the life sentences for drug charges, not the huge growth of the prison population. And he went everywhere — Bill O’Reilly’s show on Fox News, congressional hearings, public panels — to spread a different gospel.
“The federal criminal justice system simply is not broken. In fact, it’s working exactly as designed,” Cook said at a criminal justice panel at The Washington Post last year.
The Obama administration largely ignored Cook, who was then president of the National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys. But he won’t be overlooked anymore.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has brought Cook into his inner circle at the Justice Department, appointing him to be one of his top lieutenants to help undo the criminal justice policies of Obama and former attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr. As Sessions has traveled to different cities to preach his tough-on-crime philosophy, Cook has been at his side.
Ouch, the stupid!!
Anyway, speaking of stupid, today we learn that he is all good with forensic “science.” Which, aside from DNA, actual scientists know is largely a joke that has led to probably tens of thousands of Americans being wrongly imprisoned:
Attorney General Jeff Sessions will end a Justice Department partnership with independent scientists to raise forensic science standards and has suspended an expanded review of FBI testimony across several techniques that have come under question, saying a new strategy will be set by an in-house team of law enforcement advisers.
In a statement Monday, Sessions said he would not renew the National Commission on Forensic Science, a roughly 30-member advisory panel of scientists, judges, crime lab leaders, prosecutors and defense lawyers chartered by the Obama administration in 2013.
A path to meet needs of overburdened crime labs will be set by a yet-to-be-named senior forensic adviser and an internal department crime task force,Sessions’s statement said.
Yglesias tweet captured this perfectly. Honestly, probably one of my favorite tweets ever.
I was decrying this in my class today, and I asked what’s left that’s dumb about our criminal justice enforcement that Sessions can double-down on? My students reminded me that Sessions was looking to undo consent decrees between the federal government and police departments that have had trouble with systematic racism.
So, there you go… wrong on war on drugs, wrong on forensic “science,” wrong on race and criminal justice. Trump’s America. Ugh.