Quick thoughts on Sessions and Romans 13

Alan Noble
1 min readJun 15, 2018

AG Sessions states that “Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves and protect the weak and lawful.” This belief seems to be foundational to his entire argument and his application of Romans 13. For Sessions, “law” and “order” are ends in themselves rather than methods of achieving a good and just society. It does not take any imagination to imagine lawful and orderly processes that are fundamentally dehumanizing and unjust. Plessy v. Ferguson established segregation (“order”) as “legal,” for a time, and Jim Crow was clearly not “good in itself.” As St. Augustine said, an unjust law is no law at all. There are times when our laws have been administered so poorly and to such a determent of families that it is prudent and appropriate for the A.G. to use his discretion to reduce the harm done to families whose only real legal offensive is desiring a better future enough to illegal cross the border. Strictly following the law on immigration while knowing that our immigration system is broken and that a strict application will harm innocent families is unjust. Instead, the Attorney General should allow judicial discretion and demand that Congress act to fix the problem.

Sessions view that law and order are an end in themselves mirrors the wider philosophy of the Trump administration and almost certainly represents contemporary anxiety about life in an impossibly complex world.

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Alan Noble

Associate Professor of English, Oklahoma Baptist University, author of Disruptive Witness, You Are Not Your Own, and On Getting Out of Bed (soon).