Jeff Sessions

Instapundit: Fire Sessions Over Civil Forfeiture Stance, Not Russia Recusal

The attorney general is bad on most things that matter, and many that do not.

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White House, Wikimedia

University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds, better known as the Internet's Instapundit, has harsh words for Attorney General Jeff Sessions. While President Trump has tweeted anger at Sessions for recusing himself from the ongoing investigation of ties between Russia and the 2016 election, Reynolds is ready to move on to something more important:

Under "civil forfeiture," law enforcement can take property from people under the legal fiction that the property itself is guilty of a crime. ("Legal fiction" sounds better than "lie," but in this case the two terms are near synonyms.) It was originally sold as a tool for going after the assets of drug kingpins, but nowadays it seems to be used against a lot of ordinary Americans who just have things that law enforcement wants. It's also a way for law enforcement agencies to maintain off-budget slush funds, thus escaping scrutiny.

Sessions supports robust civil forfeiture and for having federal laws supersede state laws against seizing assets without charges. Reynolds again:

Some states have required that people be convicted of a crime before the government can seize their assets, but the feds have no such requirement. Congress should enact one. As the editors of National Review write:

"This is almost certainly unconstitutional, something that conservatives ought to understand instinctively. Like the Democrats' crackpot plan to revoke the Second Amendment rights of U.S. citizens who have been neither charged with nor convicted of a crime simply for having been fingered as suspicious persons by some anonymous operative in Washington, seizing an American's property because a police officer merely suspects that he might be a drug dealer or another species of miscreant does gross violence to the basic principle of due process."

When even the conservatives at National Review, known for their love of "law and order," are calling bullshit, it's time to pull the plug. "The message it sends," writes Reynolds, "is that the feds see the rest of us as prey, not as citizens. The attorney general should be ashamed to take that position. And, really, he should just be gone."

Read the whole thing here.

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  1. If the right isn’t going to respect property rights, who is? But no one gets fired from government by bringing in more revenue, no matter the party in charge.

    1. I don’t know about the rest of the country, but here in Texas there are a bunch of GOP politicians and conservative groups who strongly support the end of civil asset forfeiture. I’m a libertarian, not a Republican, and this has been a libertarian issue for at least a quarter century, but I’ve been impressed with recent Republican opposition to civil asset forfeiture here in Texas. I think evil of civil asset forfeiture became known with the Tenaha scandal in 2008.

      1. But Trump ain’t gonna fire Sessions over civil asset forfeiture.

        In fact, Trump has threatened to ‘destroy’ Texas Republicans who have opposed civil asset forfeiture.
        http://www.politico.com/story/…..xas-234740

        Civil asset forfeiture is one of many topics in which Trump is the polar opposite of libertarian.

  2. How do you get firmly incumbent elected officials out of office?

    Nominate them for Executive Branch positions and then the President fire them.

    1. The Chessmaster strikes again!

      1. The Zen master says “we’ll see”.

      2. Everything Trump does is random!

    2. More please.

  3. Yes, please! And Fire him a second time for his WoD stance. He sucks! Trump maybe keeps him around because he makes Trump look not so bad in comparison.

  4. And cross dressing Julie, the new front runner?

    The former New York mayor ? who once said that “freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do”

    and…

    during his time at DOJ in the 1980s Giuliani also helped expand the scope and reach of civil-asset forfeiture laws more generally. As mayor of New York, he instructed city officials to seize the cars of first-time drunk-driving suspects. Even if the suspects were acquitted, under Giuliani’s proposal, they’d have to go to court (plus hire an attorney, pay court costs, etc.) to win back their automobiles.

    1. Yeah, the notion that Trump will consider asset-theft when firing Sessions is laughable. He knew what kind of thug he was when he hired him.

      1. He knew what kind of thug he was when he hired him.

        Hell, that’s why he hired him in the first place. That and Sessions was one of the first Senators to get on his knees for him.

  5. Nick, you and Katherine are two of my favorite protectors of Civil liberties. I have a serious question. Since Civil Asset Forfeiture is clearly unconstitutional and the Constitution is supreme law of the land and the Supreme Court has ruled that a citizen has the right to defend themselves against cops who break the law, then why when you are being robbed by a cop on the side of the road with no charges being filed can’t you just kill the crooked bastard. Just wondering.
    My 10th grade civics class said a law that was unconstitutional was not a law.

    1. You can, it just comes with a steep price.

  6. almost certainly unconstitutional

    Nice try but when has that stopped anyone?

  7. >>>…the conservatives at National Review

    are Boehner-loving Bushies. Booooo.

  8. Look, if anyone with actual power gave a shit what civil libertarians thought about anything, this country wouldn’t be as badly fucked as it is.

    1. shortest.class.ever.

  9. Instapundit: Fire Sessions Over Civil Forfeiture Stance, Not Russia Recusal

    Given that Trump agrees with Sessions stance on civil asset forfeiture, fat chance on that. Although if he does fire Sessions over his recusal from the Russia investigation shitshow, we should take take what we can get even if it is for the wrong reason. Doing the right thing for the wrong reason is probably the best we can hope for from any politician.

    1. Too bad all the leading candidates to replace him are just as bad on this and probably any other issue.

  10. You gotta love how Trump commands loyalty from his appointees – by threatening to fire them for disobedience.
    What a leader!

  11. Some states have required that people be convicted of a crime before the government can seize their assets, but the feds have no such requirement.

    Oh, really?

    No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury,…nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. – U.S. Constitution

    1. Obviously you are unfamiliar with the FYTW exception whereby the feds prosecute the property rather than the citizen in cases captioned something like “United States v 2015 Chevrolet Camaro”. They are not depriving the citizen of his property per se, but rather prosecuting the Chevrolet Camaro for its involvement in a crime. A Chevrolet Camaro has no rights.

  12. Despicable these asset forfeiture laws and people who enforce them are even more so.

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