Thursday, March 8, 2018
Attorney General Jeff Sessions Has Found His Real Voice, and He Should Continue Speaking to America
THE REAL NEWS TODAY IS THAT JEFF SESSIONS HAS REFOUND HIS VOICE. And it was aimed at California. • • • SESSIONS TELLS CALIFORNIA TO GO TO GETTYSBURG IF IT THINKS THE LAW IS NOT SETTLED. Attorney General Jeff Sessions went to Sacramento to make the purpose of the DOJ immigration lawsuit clear. He announced that immigration is the province of the federal government, pounced on Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and called the "sanctuary state" status of California a “radical, open borders agenda.” Sessions called out California on its harboring of illegal immigrants : “There is no nullification. There is no secession. Federal law is the supreme law of the land. I would invite any doubters to go to Gettysburg, to the tombstones of John C. Calhoun and Abraham Lincoln. This matter has been settled.” • Sessions was speaking at the California Peace Officers’ Association in Sacramento on Wednesday, the day after the Justice Department announced it was filing a lawsuit against the “sanctuary city” state over three pieces of legislation that it said interferes with federal immigration policy. AG Sessions said he noted “worrisome” trends as violent crime increased in 2014 and 2015, particularly a surge in homicide and drug availability. He said that a lawful immigration system was part of tackling such trends. Sessions warned that while America admits the highest number of legal immigrants in the world, the American people deserve a legal, rational immigration system that protects the nation and preserves the national interest, saying : “It cannot be the policy of a great nation to reward those who unlawfully enter its country with legal status, Social Security, welfare, food stamps, and work permits and so forth. How can this be a sound policy? Meanwhile, those who engage in this process lawfully and patiently and wait their turn are discriminated against, it seems, at every turn.” Sessions promised that the administration will win the fight and protect law enforcement in doing their jobs : “California is using every power it has, and some it does not, to frustrate federal law enforcement. So you can be sure I’m going to use every power I have to stop them.” • The Attorney General laid into California politicians, describing "open borders" policies that refuse to apprehend and deport illegal immigrants as a “radical, irrational idea that cannot be accepted” and rejected the right of states to obstruct federal immigration law. He then excoriated Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, who tipped off the public to an immigration raid in the San Francisco Bay Area last week -- a move he said led to as many 800 illegal immigrants evading capture and put both residents and law enforcement at risk. ICE agents arrested 150 in Oakland, despite the mayor's warning, and the acting ICE director later labeled the Oakland mayor's warning "risky." Sessions chastised Schaaf in a quiet but very firm voice : “How dare you! How dare you needlessly endanger the lives of our law enforcement officers to promote a radical, open borders agenda.” Sessions also accused California legislators of passing laws that are not only unconstitutional, but also a “plain violation of federal statute and common sense. Importantly, these laws are harmful to Californians, and they’re especially harmful to our law enforcement." • Earlier, Mayor Schaaf had said : "I did what I believe was right for my community as well as to protect public safety. People should be able to live without fear or panic and know their rights and responsibilities as well as their recourses." • Democrats have pushed back against the Trump administration's crackdown on so-called “sanctuary cities” where officials are ordered not to cooperate with federal authorities. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, said Wednesday that the lawsuit marked “a new low” from the Trump administration and said the President was abusing the legal system “to push his mass deportation agenda. The people of California will not be bowed by the Trump administration's brazen aggression and intimidation tactics. Californians will continue to proudly keep our doors open to the immigrants who make America more American. We will fight this sham lawsuit and will fight all cowardly attacks on our immigrant communities." Governor Jerry Brown called the lawsuit a “political stunt.” Senator Kamala Harris said the Trump administration was attempting to “bully California.” Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg told The Sacaramento Bee that the state and city would be undeterred by Sessions’s visit : “We are a proud safe haven, a proud sanctuary city, a proud sanctuary state, and we stand with our neighbors,” he said. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra went further, insisting that California was within its legal rights to ignore and even impede the enforcement of federal immigration law : “We’re following the Constitution and federal law. We’re doing nothing to intrude in the work of the federal government to do immigration enforcement. We recognize and respect that the federal government has authority over immigration enforcement." That is simply not true. It wasn’t true when California passed its sanctuary state laws and it certainly wasn’t true when the Oakland mayor warned illegals that ICE was getting ready for a round-up. In fact, in “standing up” to Trump, Oakland Mayor Schaaf actually may have pushed California beyond even the most liberal interpretation of the law, and brought down on herself and all of California the ire of the US Attorney General and his determination re-establish legal sanity and justice to a state that is sorely lacking in both. • Sessions has been a longtime favorite of conservatives because of his fight against illegal immigration when he was an Alabama Senator. In a 2015 handbook for fellow GOP lawmakers, he called “immigration reform” a “legislative honorific almost exclusively reserved for proposals which benefit everyone but actual American citizens.” In Sacramento, he said : “I understand that we have a wide variety of political opinions out there on immigration. But the law is in the books and its purposes are clear and just.” • The Department of Justice lawsuit against California aims to block three "sanctuary" laws the state's legislature passed last year. The 18-page complaint, filed late Tuesday, asks the US District Court for the Eastern District of California to block the three laws, which it argues are designed to intentionally obstruct and discriminate against the enforcement of federal immigration law. The laws in dispute prohibit private employers from voluntarily cooperating with federal immigration officials, prevent state and local law enforcement officials from giving federal immigration officials information about the release date of removable immigrants in their custody, and create an inspection and review scheme that requires the California Attorney General to investigate the immigration enforcement efforts of federal agents. The Complaint states : “The provisions of state law at issue have the purpose and effect of making it more difficult for federal immigration officers to carry out their responsibilities in California.” The DOJ states in the Complaint that the laws are invalid because they violate the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution that establishes that federal law generally takes precedence over state laws : “The Supremacy Clause does not allow California to obstruct the United States’ ability to enforce laws that Congress has enacted or to take actions entrusted to it by the Constitution." • And, in his speech, Sessions also focused on California residents and law enforcement officials. He said the Justice Department isn’t asking the state to enforce federal immigration law, but rather is asking California and local jurisdictions to “stop actively obstructing federal law enforcement.” • Sessions told Fox News on Thursday that the Trump administration did not expect states to do the federal government's bidding, but said that California and other states and municipalities with sanctuary laws are obstructing the work of immigration officials : "We just cannot allow them to obstruct or block. Somebody needs to stand up and say no, you’ve gone too far, you cannot do this, this is not reasonable." • And, on Thursday, we learned that the DOJ has made a deal with Congress to release the "Fast & Furious" documents that Obama AG Eric Holder refused to provide. Are things beginning to look up at the Sessions Justice Department. • • • DEAR READERS, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has at last found his true voice. His silence seemed like dilettantism. Merriam-Webster defines "dilettantism" as a lack of the level of skill associated with an expert or professional, an amateurishness, amateurism, or inexpertness. Other dictionaries define it as "dabbling," which I think fit our vision of Sessions as Attorney General. His speech in Sacramento is the first time we have heard him breathe passion into his role and conviction into his action. The old Jeff Sessions was a skilled and accomplished lawyer. But, his tenure as Attorney General had, until Sacramento, been lackluster. • Perhaps Sessions was trying to be the consummate AG who says nothing in public and moves the strings of the Justice Department hidden away from public view. In most eras, that would work beautifully. But, today's America is one big shouting match and consummate professionals who go about their business quietly are pretty much ignored. This is too bad and reflects a malaise in the Republic that was last seen during the Civil War and to a lesser extent in the 1960s. But, bad as the current political atmosphere is, Attorney General Sessions must join in the shouting, in his precise and gentlemanly manner. We need his voice of passion mixed with a lifetime of reasoned and honorable legal analysis. To leave the legal stage empty is to allow the uncouth and undisciplined -- dare we say unethical -- Deep State legal voices to prevail. We know the mainstream media will dote on their mumbo-jumbo, but when an Attorney General speaks, even the mainstream media must report his remarks. That is the beauty of the office of Attorney General. He speaks for the President. But, he also speaks for the Republic, for the Constitution, and for every law-abiding citizen. Jeff Sessions has found his voice. He must now face up to his duty -- whether it is appealing to him or an affliction to bear. He must continue to speak to America and for America.