When President-elect Trump selected Alabama senator Jeff Sessions to be his attorney general, many conservatives cheered. Immigration hardliners were thrilled to have one of their own in the position, while other conservatives saw Sessions as the type of dynamic presence needed to clean out the Stygian morass of President Obama’s Justice Department. “A sensible pick that promises to restore some integrity to a Justice Department tarnished by eight years of Obama-administration lawlessness,” the editors of National Review called it. Still, there are red flags in Sessions’s record that should worry those who believe in limited government and individual liberty. For instance, he sharply departs from the growing bipartisan consensus on criminal-justice reform. Leading conservatives and libertarians, from former Texas governor Rick Perry to Senators such as Ted Cruz and Rand Paul to the Koch brothers, have embraced the need to make our criminal-justice system more equitable, pushing for a greater emphasis on rehabilitation and a reduction in the incarceration of minor non-violent offenders.
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