‘. . .lacks the temperament, fairness and judgment.’
She went on to say:
‘I believe his confirmation would have a devastating effect on not only the judicial system in Alabama, but also on the progress we have made toward fulfilling my husband’s dream.’
While her letter was written with regard to Sessions’ nomination to the federal bench, but there is nothing new under the sun. From his views on the Muslim Ban, Mexican border wall, to his colonialists comments about that “island in the Pacific,” Sessions is showing that he certainly does have the propensity to have a “devastating effect on the judicial system, but also on the progress we have made toward fulfilling” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, dream.
As the Trump administration takes more steps towards disrespecting Dr. King’s dream, it looks as if Sessions is going after the part of the dream that has allowed those wrongfully convicted, to have the justice that comes with freedom, and those who face conviction, to either get the consequences they deserve, or be exonerated based on science, not someone’s opinion of piece of science.
Where Sessions’ newest stab at removing constitutional rights becomes even more egregious is the portion of his actions that he has to know will impact brown males more than any other group.
Mother Jones reports that Sessions wants the justice system to rely “less on science, but more on science.” Total paradox, right? Well, that’s exactly the blow that a group of lawyers, scientists, judges, crime techs, law enforcement officials and members of the academic community received from a member of Sessions’ staff. The group comprised the National Commission on Forensic Science. Their mission was to provide an independent scientific review of forensics.
The mission of The Commission is now over. The Trump administration didn’t renew the group’s charter, so the opportunity to have the level of unbiased feedback that The Commission provided, has come to an end. They didn’t go down without a fight, though. Julia Leighton, one of the group’s members argued:
‘We have to understand the importance of this juncture that we’re at, where [sic] we’re really grappling with, frankly, are we telling the truth as a matter of science to judges and jurors? And that can’t be put on hold. It is inconsistent with the Department of Justice’s mission to put that on hold.’
The Commission and other panels like them have fought since the inception of forensic evidence to ensure that the field doesn’t become void of science. Because while forensics is considered a science, experts agree that it’s often not based on science and can be more subjective than the generally absolute nature of science typically mandates. Sessions doesn’t care, though; despite the overwhelming evidence that forensics has gotten away from its intended use and application, and is often considered a “mess,” he said:
‘I don’t think we should suggest that those proven scientific principles that we’ve been using for decades are somehow uncertain.’
Keeping in mind that part of Sessions’ job is to provide supports that maintain the impartiality of the U.S. justice system, it’s extremely sad, but not surprising to see him endorse the dismantling of the system of checks and balances that The Commission provided. For the sake of all of America, one can only now hope that dreams like Dr. King’s are deferred, not totally denied because of the Trump administration.
Featured Image via Getty/Anadolu Agency/Contributor