Shed No Tears For Jeff Sessions
Sure Trump’s Been Incredibly Brutal To His Attorney General And Is Likely To Fire Him After The Midterms, And Yeah, Sessions Was Ethical Enough To Recuse Himself From The Russia Investigation…Still…
Trump’s betrayal of his earliest supporter in the Senate has been stunning. He’s been ridiculed so many times by the President on Twitter and worse in details in Bob Woodward’s book, you can’t help but feel sorry for him, right? The President’s even said “I don’t have an attorney general”. Ice cold.
But remember the time Sessions was almost giddy when he announced the end of DACA (which is still around because of challenges and court orders)? That still threatens as many as 800,000 undocumented immigrants, many of whom have been in the country since they were children, and dutifully registered with the government.
In case you forgot, here’s the clip:
Or remember the time he gleefully urged federal prosecutors to aggressively pursue the now infamous “zero tolerance” policy at the border, which separated children from their parents?
In case you forgot, here’s a clip of that:
Or the time he told judges when they enter the courtroom they should leave their empathy at the door? This is something Conservatives have been hung up on going on a decade now. Because it was back in 2009 when — you guessed it — President Obama said he would look for “empathy” in his Supreme Court nominees. Further describing his ideal candidate as:
“someone who understands that justice isn’t about some abstract legal theory or footnote in a casebook; it is also about how our laws affect the daily reality of people’s lives”.
And at that time, before he was even a twinkle in Trump’s eye, then Senator Sessions famously retorted “I don’t know what empathy means”.
The reason we’re bringing this up today, is in a speech this week before the Heritage Foundation, the Attorney General rekindled that anti-empathy fire, again saying it’s an Obama thing and has no place in jurisprudence. In Sessions’ vision, empathy is a “gateway” to judges handing down decisions based on emotion and political preference.
Here’s a clip (click on the photo to watch):
Yes, we know Justice is blind. Sometimes judges will hand down decisions that are not politically popular. And even Judge Judy sometimes says “I feel for you, but I can’t help you because that’s just not the law.”
Still, if we define empathy as the ability to put yourself in somebody else’s shoes, isn’t that the minimum we should expect from someone who might be judging us? Even if they eventually throw the book at us? If the proper role for a judge is to be completely a cold fish with no trace of humanity, why have humans as judges at all? Why not automate courtrooms with robots who are quick at pulling up case law and utterly rigid and resolute in their decisions, regardless of the circumstances?
So next time Trump savages Sessions and maybe you feel some empathy, remember, it’s OK to be heartless as long as you’re following the rules.