Jeff Sessions is already staking claim as the most dangerous attorney general for civil rights and civil liberties in modern history. And if President Trump wants to fire him, then we should let him.
Sessions wields more power over everyday Americans than any other Trump Cabinet official. He has provided the legal backing for Trump’s extremist immigration policies and discriminatory travel ban. He has threatened to put users of marijuana in jail even in states where it’s legal. He’s attempting to stifle the agency’s civil rights division and has rolled back important reforms in local police departments meant to protect African Americans.
He has brought back the Justice Department’s controversial “civil forfeiture” program, which allows local police to seize property from people never even charged with a crime. He has said that he will push for longer jail sentences for defendants in the face of bipartisan calls for criminal justice reform. And with his coming crackdown on leaks, he is directly attacking whistle-blowers and journalists.
Even during the controversy with Trump, Sessions has continued at a torrential pace. Just last week, the Justice Department announced it will argue that federal law does not protect LGBT Americans from discrimination.
Of course, none of these are reasons Trump reportedly wants to fire Sessions. He is merely upset that Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation despite Sessions’ clear conflicts of interest. But if Trump is petty enough to fire Sessions over this issue, then it’s cause for celebration.
To be clear, the Senate should do everything in its power to prevent a recess appointment of a new attorney general if Sessions leaves. And the Senate should never confirm another appointee who doesn’t promise to let special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation continue.
But the Mueller investigation is not the end-all-be-all for those who oppose Trump. Stopping Sessions from continuing to expand his cruel and un-American agenda as attorney general is something we should all welcome.