10:35, February 13 217 0 abajournal.com

2018-02-13 10:35:07
DOJ explains Jeff Sessions’ improvised reference to the ‘Anglo-American heritage of law enforcement’

Some eyebrows were raised when Sessions made the remark to the National Sheriffs’ Association, but a Justice Department spokesman said the term had no “nefarious meaning,” report the Washington Post and NBC.

Sessions’ prepared text had read, “The sheriff is a critical part of our legal heritage.” In his improvised remark, Sessions was referring to the common law, said Justice Department spokesman Ian Prior.

“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,” he said in a statement. “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.”

The Post reports that Sessions might have been talking about the origins of the office of sheriff, which was established in Anglo-Saxon England and imported to the American colonies.

References to the “Anglo-American legal tradition” and “Anglo-American constitutional history” have appeared in opinions by both liberal and conservative judges, the Post article points out.