breaking news

Trump says he's coming to Florida 'very soon'

What did Jeff Sessions say about Anglo-American heritage. What does that mean?


Attorney General Jeff Sessions is being accused of racism by some organizations after he used the term “Anglo-American heritage” Monday at a National Sheriff’s Association meeting he was addressing.

“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 elected process,” Sessions said at the meeting being held in Washington D.C.

Sessions went on to say, “The office of sheriff is a critical part of the Anglo-American heritage of law enforcement,” and it was that statement that some took offense to.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People issued a statement soon after Sessions made the remarks, which read, “His decision to link the term Sheriff to some part ‘of the Anglo-American heritage of law enforcement,’ is an unfortunate yet consistent aspect of the language coming out of the Department of Justice under his tenure and in the opinion of the NAACP, qualifies as the latest example of dog whistle politics.”

The NAACP statement also said Sessions’s “racially-tinged comments” should give “all people reason to worry.”

Sessions had been accused of being racially insensitive in the past. A Senate committee denied him a federal judgeship in 1986 after some colleagues said he used racial slurs and joked about the Ku Klux Klan.

The Justice Department defended Session’s comments, explaining that the term “Anglo-American law” is one commonly used in the legal system.

“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," Justice Department spokesman Ian Prior 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.”

What is Anglo-American law? The Encyclopedia Britannica explains it as “the body of customary law based upon judicial decisions and embodied in reports of decided cases that has been administered by the common-law courts of England since the Middle Ages.” 

In other words, it is the administration of the law based on previous decisions made by judges. Anglo-American refers to things that are made up of influences from Britain and from the United States. Every state in the union uses common law with the exception of Louisiana. Louisiana’s legal system is based on civil code, meaning they are derived from direct interpretation of laws made by legislatures.

The Washington Post pointed out that the term has been commonly used by Supreme Court justices.

 


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation & World

2018 Billboard Music Awards: Winner list
2018 Billboard Music Awards: Winner list

Singers, songwriters and recording artists were awarded at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards Sunday in Las Vegas. 
Kelly Clarkson calls for ‘moment of action’ to honor victims of Texas school shooting at Billboard awards
Kelly Clarkson calls for ‘moment of action’ to honor victims of Texas school shooting at Billboard awards

In a moving and somber start to the 2018 Billboard Music Awards, Kelly Clarkson called attention to the Santa Fe High School shooting in Texas that left 10 dead and another 13 wounded. Instead of a moment of silence, however, Clarkson, who said no one should be in fear to go to school called on the crowd, and viewers, to honor the victims with a moment...
Man intentionally drove through restaurant, killed 2, including deputy daughter
Man intentionally drove through restaurant, killed 2, including deputy daughter

Families were sitting down for a comfortable Sunday lunch when chaos ensued at a Gaston County restaurant. Two people died and others were injured when a man drove his car into a Gaston County restaurant just after noon. Police said the driver of the car, Roger Self, was taken into custody. Police said after their initial investigation, they believe...
Veteran heartbroken after her therapy dog is mauled to death
Veteran heartbroken after her therapy dog is mauled to death

Years after fighting for our country in Iraq, Cherice Jackson found herself in another fight – this time for her best friend, her therapy dog Ms. Pooh.  Jackson said two pit bulls mauled Ms. Pooh to death and she couldn’t stop it.  “I spent probably 20, 30 minutes trying to wrestle her from him,” Jackson told Channel...
Deaf, pregnant woman with service animal says she was punched on flight
Deaf, pregnant woman with service animal says she was punched on flight

Video shows a confrontation that erupted after a deaf pregnant woman said a man punched her and her service dog as their Frontier flight was taxiing to a gate at Orlando International Airport. The family of the man said it was all a misunderstanding. Hazel Ramirez admits that her fiancé, Matthew Silva, tackled Timothy Manley in the terminal...
More Stories