Jeff Sessions
Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R) (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

On Monday, Attorney General Jeff sessions mentioned the “Anglo-American heritage” of American sheriffs.

Sessions made the bizarre remarks at the National Sheriffs Association’s winter meeting.

“I want to thank every sheriff in America. Since our founding, the independently elected sheriff has been the people’s protector, who keeps law enforcement close to and accountable to people through the elected process,” Sessions said, according to CNN. 

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Then, he made the questionable “Anglo-American” comment.

“The office of sheriff is a critical part of the Anglo-American heritage of law enforcement,” he said, adding, “We must never erode this historic office.”

The original remarks, according to a written version, said, “The sheriff is a critical part of our legal heritage.”

That means Sessions decided all on his own that he wanted to add in “Anglo-American” and thought that in this climate in which his president has been surrounded by racial controversy, that was a good idea.

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It’s about English heritage

Ian Prior, a spokesperson for the DOJ, claimed that Sessions’ comments referred to a common term among lawyers, “Anglo-American law.”

The term apparently refers to the English heritage of the word “sheriff,” which comes from the Anglo-Saxon words “shire,” meaning “county,” and “reeve,” meaning “guardian,” Cato analyst David Kopel explained in The Washington Post.

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“As most law students learn in the first week of their first year, Anglo-American law  also known as the common law  is a shared legal heritage between England and America. The sheriff is unique to that shared legal heritage. Before reporters sloppily imply nefarious meaning behind the term, we would suggest that they read any number of the Supreme Court opinions that use the term. Or they could simply put ‘Anglo-American law’ into Google,” Prior said.

Even with this explanation, the decision to use the term is questionable at best in the current political environment, especially if it was an off-the-cuff comment by Sessions.