AG Jeff Sessions used the phrase 'anglo-American' in a speech and left is freaking out

Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke to the National Association of Sheriff’s Monday and made a comment about the “anglo-American heritage of law enforcement.” He was referring specifically to the history of the office of sheriff.

I want to thank every sheriff in America. Since our founding, the independently elected sheriff has been the people’s protector, who keeps law enforcement close to and accountable to people through the elective process. The office of sheriff is a critical part of the Anglo-American heritage of law enforcement. We must never erode this historic office.

Despite the fact that Sessions was clearly talking about the history of the office his listeners hold, his remarks prompted articles like this one at Splinter headlined, “Jeff Sessions Let His Racism Peek Through a Little More Than He May Have Intended To.”

“Anglo-American heritage of law enforcement”? Hmm, what could that possibly mean?

This comment does not appear in Sessions’ prepared remarks. As Vice News’ Tess Owen points out, Sessions could have been referring to the Anglo-Saxon origins of the role of the sheriff (the sheriff of Nottingham, etc.)

Still, considering every single god-given thing we know about Jeff Sessions, that is a very generous interpretation of his remarks. When you are Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, and are viewed as a racist by a wide variety of people, one would think you might consider the optics of praising “Anglo-American heritage” in front of a largely white crowd of cops.

ThinkProgress called it a “dogwhistle audible to human ears.” A US Senator claimed Sessions was trying to pit Americans against one another:

Yes, who would possibly use that phrase in a sentence? It turns out constitutional law professor (and closet racist) Barack Obama used it a number of times:

Charles Cooke found several additional instances in which Obama used the same phrase. A DOJ spokesperson gave a statement to CNN:

Ian Prior, a spokesperson for the DOJ, said in a statement that the term “Anglo-American law” is common parlance among lawyers and legal scholars, pointing to a number of opinions from the US Supreme Court.

“As most law students learn in the first week of their first year, Anglo-American law — also known as the common law — is a shared legal heritage between England and America. The sheriff is unique to that shared legal heritage. Before reporters sloppily imply nefarious meaning behind the term, we would suggest that they read any number of the Supreme Court opinions that use the term. Or they could simply put ‘Anglo-American law’ into Google,” Prior said.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer used the term in a speech in 2016.

In other words, lawyers use this phrase occasionally when talking about the history of law. That’s clearly how Sessions intended it, but the left freaked out over it anyway.