Under almost any other circumstances, the firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions would be a moment for dancing in the streets. Sessions oversaw a Justice Department that systematically undermined civil liberties and civil rights.
But his departure portends no improvement on these fronts. And the fact that President Trump fired him, notwithstanding his faithful advancement of the president’s agenda, should raise alarm bells.
Sessions leaves the Justice Department far less committed to justice than he found it. Under President Barack Obama, the department expanded the rights of LGBTQ individuals, responded aggressively to police abuse, directed federal prosecutors to use their charging discretion wisely to reduce mass incarceration, promoted voting rights, reduced reliance on private prisons and commuted lengthy sentences imposed on nonviolent drug offenders. Sessions could not reincarcerate the men and women whose sentences Obama commuted, but he reversed virtually everything else.
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