Jeff Sessions is a major threat to the liberties of all Americans

Based on his stance on the drug war and civil asset forfeiture, Jeff Sessions being the Attorney General is very dangerous

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is a brutal authoritarian who, being in his position of power, can be very dangerous to students of ASU. He can also be dangerous to the rest of the nation based upon his stances on the drug war and civil asset forfeiture.

College campuses all over the nation have a drug problem and ours is no exception. Drug convictions definitely hurt one's chances of making it in the workforce. As a result of this crackdown on drug-related crimes, it will be difficult for many students to gain employment. 

The war on drugs was initiated by President Richard  Nixon in 1971 to fix our drug problem, and resulted in a slew of consequences. The U.S. has spent over $1 trillion cumulatively and spends $51 billion annually to fight this war that really has no end in sight.

The black community has been more devastated by this “war,” as Michelle Alexander describes in her book "The New Jim Crow." The criminal justice system disproportionately affects black Americans over white Americans. She said that “one in three young African American men will serve time in prison if current trends continue.” 

Her book is also an amazing testimony to the hardships that black Americans face in our criminal justice system.

This war has led to stop and frisk policies that are considered to be racist and are very much responsible for police brutality and police militarization in this country.

The list of issues and problems that come from the drug war are endless. I could mention testimony from police officers calling out the drug war, but with Sessions being the chief law enforcement officer in the U.S., much of the progress made by the previous administration could be undone. 

There are many issues that I had with the Obama administration, but one thing that I will always give Obama credit for the strides he took in criminal justice reform. For example, he was the first sitting president to visit a prison and granted more clemencies than any other president in last half-century.

With Sessions as the Attorney General, much of that progress will be lost, as he is a massive supporter of the drug war and is not at all friendly to the concept of repealing mandatory minimums or anything that promotes real and just criminal justice reform.

“I was looking at crackdowns on college campuses and how a lot of students are being arrested for having alcohol or having drugs on campuses and I feel like that could make it a lot worse,” Maya Tatum, justice studies junior and chapter president of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, said. 

Tatum also said she was uncomfortable with Sessions being the Attorney General.

Tatum is right in being concerned about Sessions being in this kind of position as there were 325 drug related arrests in the year 2015 on just the Tempe campus.

Sessions and Trump are major proponents of civil asset forfeiture, a process by where government officials can seize and sell your property without convicting or charging you with a crime.

This form of government overreaching its power has led to the violation of basic civil liberties for many Americans. Grover Norquist, president of the Americans for Tax Reform said during a policy briefing that in 2015, there was “more money taken away from Americans through civil asset forfeiture last year than robberies.” 

This is a startling figure and shows how much harm comes out of this policy. The government is supposed to protect us from harm, but has threatened our liberties and freedoms. 

Dan Schneider of the American Conservative Union even told a story of a young man who had $40,000 taken from him by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives during the briefing.

With Sessions as the Chief Prosecutor of the United States, he has the potential to make this issue worse than it already is. Asset forfeiture is unconstitutional and is essentially “theft” as Dr. Ron Paul described in an interview with Fox Business.

With Sessions as the Attorney General of the U.S., the drug war could be become much worse, which is reinforced by the stories that are emerging about Trump's plans to “crackdown” on recreational marijuana. 

These could impact students at ASU as well as those on other campuses — their futures could be in jeopardy with an attorney general such as Sessions. 

With Sessions being in this position of power, our liberties and freedoms as Americans could be at a greater risk. 


Reach the reporter at vpappuse@asu.edu or follow @vpappuse on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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