While speaking to the National Sheriffs' Association earlier today, Attorney General Jeff Sessions praised the sheriffs' "Anglo-American heritage", a phrase that no doubt brought a smile to the lips of white supremacists everywhere.
Per usual on Sessions' part, the comment thinly veiled his backwoods idealism on race relations in the U.S. Which, to no surprise, was enough to strike a nerve with Demings, who's black, and who told the Tampa Bay Times that Sessions' remarks were "met with mixed applause in a mostly Anglo crowd of American sheriffs". According to a written version of the speech, he was supposed to say, "The sheriff is a critical part of our legal heritage". Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, who called the phrase a "dog whistle" and expressed continued pride in his opposition to the attorney general's nomination a year ago, and California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a candidate in the state's 2018 gubernatorial election, who called Sessions an "outright racist".
Sessions also delivered condolences to the families of officers Anthony Morelli and Eric Joering killed in Westerville, OH last week.
TPM notes "some local Southern sheriffs historically worked to enforce segregation and crack down heavily on civil rights movements in the spirit of the "heritage" that many modern white nationalists cite".More news: IS leader al-Baghdadi suffering from deteriorating health
Brian Schatz (Hawaii) and Martin Heinrich (N.M.), who accused Sessions of making a racist comment. He was referring specifically to the history of the office of sheriff.
The selection of Mr Sessions as Attorney General drew criticism from detractors who pointed out that in 1986, the Senate rejected his nomination to be a federal judge amid accusations of racism.
Invoking "Anglo-American heritage" seems to have been an impromptu decision by the attorney general. "Or they could simply put "Anglo-American law" into Google", Prior said. The Americans restored what they considered to be the ancient Anglo-Saxon practice of popular election of Sheriffs.
DOJ officials were quick to point out that Sessions was referring to the precedent-based English common law system that forms the basis of the American legal code.
"There, [Kennedy] described 1000 years of evolution of rule of law and of the Anglo-American common law system".