Jeff Sessions left with much still do to in his efforts to overhaul the Department of Justice. Not many were happy with the way the DOJ was handled under the previous administration.
Who can forget the tarmac meeting and the Comey Hillary debacle? The venerable agency had been run with disdain and with too much political input.
While Sessions didn’t get everything done, he did make one last minute decision that will have lasting consequences on Obama’s legacy.
From The Chicago Sun-Times:
In one of his final acts before being forced out as attorney general by President Donald Trump, Jeff Sessions signed an order limiting the Justice Department’s ability to use consent decrees — similar to the one pending in Chicago — to adjust the behavior of local police departments accused of systemic civil rights abuses.
Under the order signed Wednesday by Sessions, top political appointees must sign off on the deals instead of career lawyers, according to a New York Times report published late Thursday.
Justice Department officials will need more evidence beyond unconstitutional behavior to negotiate the court-enforced decrees, and end dates for the deals must be pre-determined, the Times reported.
Sessions has slammed consent decrees — which were pursued aggressively by former President Barack Obama’s Justice Department — as a handicap on local law enforcement.
Sessions, who signed his order the same day Trump forced him to resign, had previously ordered a review of such agreements with cities including Chicago.
Sessions signed the memo before resigning Wednesday at the direction of President Donald Trump. Now, to enact a consent decree, the Department of Justice to provide more evidence of wrongdoing besides unconstitutional behavior, get additional approval from government officials, according to the New York Times.
The memo also says a police department should be released from the consent decree if it can prove it has made the required improvements. Generally, an agreement should be limited to three years, “absent a compelling justification” for it to be longer, the memo says.
The former Attorney General had already made his position on consent decrees clear, ordering staff last year to review existing agreements including those in Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland to see if the DOJ was overstepping and infringing on local police department’s right to govern themselves.