This week, President Trump called his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, “beleaguered”.
We can only hope that is the case, notwithstanding the oddity of a President so describing someone who works for him. But unfortunately, the “beleaguering” Mr. Trump tweeted stemmed from his own criticism of his own attorney general’s recusal from the investigation of his campaign.
There a plenty of other, far more important, reasons for which Attorney General Sessions should be beleaguered.
At a time when state legislatures and voters are increasingly rejecting the fundamentally un-American practice of seizing assets from individuals who have not been convicted of a crime, our Attorney General stands up a few days ago and declares that the Federal Government will double-down on the practice.
He even made clear that the feds would happily work with local police departments to help them circumvent pesky state laws designed to curb their asset seizure addictions. What is he thinking?
How is it legitimate for the government to steal?
Many Americans, myself included, have never understood how it was ever acceptable for the government to just take someone’s stuff, sell it or use it as they wish – with little to no due process.
We’ve actually made some good progress in recent years at the state level to restrict or even stop asset seizure, and then General Sessions steps out of his time machine and announces a plan to have the Feds do the seizing, kick back a cut of the profits to the local authorities and, in essence, undo the common sense actions of many states.
To no one’s surprise, our attorney general has proven to be a loyal cheerleader for the Wall his boss insists will be built (with Mexico somehow paying for it!), promising during a visit to the border that it will help reduce the “filth” coming into the U.S.
And drug policy? 29 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico have all acted to make medical cannabis available to residents to some degree or another. A clear majority of Americans believe individuals should have some right to seek relief from illness or pain from cannabis. Even Congress has acted to restrict the Department of Justice from enforcement of outdated federal law in those states and territories where the voters or legislatures have spoken.
More than four out of five Americans favor legal medical cannabis
Even President Trump, during the campaign, expressed respect for state laws regarding medical cannabis and shared that he has friends who have benefited from it. He’s not alone. A recent Yahoo/Marist poll found 83% of Americans in favor of medical cannabis, and an April CBS News survey shows an even greater 88% level of support.
General Sessions? Seems he didn’t get the memo. Instead, he sent a letter to Congress asking them to remove the restrictions on his enforcement powers. He has also urged federal prosecutors to seek “maximum penalties” for drug crimes, seemingly oblivious to the fact that even Republican legislators around the country are recognizing the need for criminal justice reforms that treat drug use as a health issue, not a criminal one.
It seems our attorney general’s only problem with the failed War on Drugs is that it simply hasn’t been prosecuted harshly enough.
Attorney General Sessions “beleaguered”? We can only hope so. Otherwise, we seem destined to have a chief law enforcement office whose thinking is well past the expiration date on policies that have failed and the wishes of the majority of Americans.
(Photo of Attorney General Jeff Sessions in February 2017, as a committee member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and before his confirmation as attorney general, by Alex Wong/Getty Images.)