I met Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions III once, in the early 1970s, when he was a confused young associate in an Alabama law firm, opposing counsel in an antitrust case which our side won in the U.S. District Court, the Fifth Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Was he really stupid, or was it just Jeff's lazy Southern drawl?
Today he is the U.S. Attorney General, the highest law enforcement person in the United States, having been confirmed in the U. S. Senate by a razor-thin margin. Following his time as a law firm associate, he became an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Alabama, then from 1981 to 1993 the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, and was elected his state's Attorney General the next year. In 1986, he was rejected by the Senate for a District Court Judgeship, and failed upward to be elected a U.S. Senator in 1994, where he remained until Trumputin (as I call him) nominated him to be his Attorney General.
During Sessions' time in Congress, he was considered one of the most conservative Senators. Among other things, he:
- opposed legal and illegal immigration and amnesty;
- supported expansion of the border fence with Mexico;
- supported the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars;
- supported Bush's unpaid for 2001 and 2003 tax cut packages;
- supported a proposed Constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage;
- opposed legislation by Sen. John McCain prohibiting torturing by the U.S. military;
- opposed Bush's TARP bailout of banks in 2008;
- opposed Obama's 2009 stimulus bill;
- opposed Obamacare;
- opposed repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell;
- opposed all three of Obama's Supreme Court nominees (including Garland);
- opposed additional funding for the VA's medical system in 2014;
- opposes legalizing marijuana for either recreational or medicinal use;
- is skeptical of the scientific consensus on climate change;
- believes that life begins at conception;
- wants to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling;
- is a proponent of nuclear power;
- has a 7% lifetime pro-environment score from the League of Conservation Voters; and
- once said he thought the KKK was "OK until I found out they smoked pot".
Sessions stands for everything progressives do not. He is truly a Neanderthal, a dinosaur in his thinking, totally out of step with what a majority of Americans support and believe.
In other words, he stands for everything progressives do not. He is truly a Neanderthal, a dinosaur in his thinking, totally out of step with what a majority of Americans support and believe. But he is Trumputin's Attorney General, and will have to be reckoned with, except regarding the investigation of Russia's interference in the 2016 Presidential election, due to his recusing himself as a result of his Russian contacts during the election.
Sessions and Sanctuary Cities
Sessions opposed the Bush Administration's comprehensive Immigration Acts of 2006 and 2007, and the bipartisan Gang of Eight's Immigration Modernization Act of 2013. He has almost singlehandedly prevented immigration reform from happening over the past 10 years. He believes that a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants undermines the rule of law, that guest workers and immigrants depress wages and increases U.S. citizen unemployment, and that present immigration policy increases the underclass dependent on the welfare state.
On March 27, 2017, Sessions stated that sanctuary cities that failed to comply with policies of the Trump Administration would lose federal funding, and on April 11 he circulated a memo for federal attorneys to consider prosecuting anyone found to be harboring an illegal immigrant. The Justice Department recently sent letters to nine "sanctuary cities" giving them a deadline of June 30 to explain how their policies were not in violation of the law. The die has been cast…
The "offending" jurisdictions include: New York City; Philadelphia; Chicago and Cook County; New Orleans; Las Vegas and Clark County; Miami-Dade County; Milwaukee County; and the entire State of California. California State Senate leader Kevin de Leon charged that Justice was basing its law enforcement policies "on principles of white supremacy - not American values".
California Courts to the Rescue
A California court last week stymied the Trump Administration's efforts to punish sanctuary cities. U.S. District Court Judge William H. Orrick III of San Francisco ruled that President Trump's January 25 order directed at sanctuary cities was unconstitutional. This was not a long reach by the judge, or even a hard decision. In 2012, the U. S. Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision, in the case of National Federation of Independent Business v Sebelius, ruled that the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") was constitutional in part and unconstitutional in part.
The unconstitutional part was the section of that Act that gave the Secretary of Health and Human Services the authority to penalize states that chose not to participate in Obamacare's Medicaid expansion by taking away their existing Medicaid funding. The Court found that the threatened loss of over 10 percent of a state's overall budget was "economic dragooning" that left the states with no real option but to acquiesce in the Medicaid expansion.
The Court ruled that the Medicaid expansion of Obamacare:
"violates the Constitution by threatening existing Medicaid funding. Congress has no authority to order the States to regulate according to its instructions. Congress may offer the States grants and require the States to comply with accompanying conditions, but the States must have a genuine choice whether to accept the offer. The States are given no such choice in this case: They must either accept a basic change in the nature of Medicaid, or risk losing all Medicaid funding. The remedy for that constitutional violation is to preclude the Federal Government from imposing such a sanction."
Justice Scalia wrote the dissent, and his replacement, Gorsuch, will not change the Court in a way to alter this opinion, or the rule of law established by it, in the future. Ironically, the decision served to cut back Obamacare somewhat, and now is being turned around to limit the powers of a conservative President. The decision applies equally to executive orders of a President as it does to the acts of Congress.
Judge Orrick, in his opinion (which applies nationwide), also based it on the Tenth Amendment, which protects the states from federal government interference, on violations of the Due Process Clause of the Constitution, on the Separation of Powers Doctrine, and because Trump's order was vague, and caused substantial confusion and fear in state and local jurisdictions.
San Francisco City Attorney David Herrera said regarding the decision: "This is why we have courts - to halt the overreach of a president and an attorney general who either don't understand the Constitution or chose to ignore it".
So for the time being California sanctuary cities, which include San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chula Vista, La Puente, Long Beach, Malibu (where I live), Sacramento, San Jose, Santa Ana, Santa Clara and Stockton (and in fact 31 of the 100 largest cities in the U.S.), are safe from the bullying of Trumputin and Sessions. And California is in the process of becoming a sanctuary state, in a big F***You to them.