Attorney General Jeff Sessions is set to visit Michigan on Thursday to give a speech at the annual dinner of the state's chapter of the Federalist Society, an influential conservative legal group known for promoting late Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia's brand of constitutional originalism.
The talk will be held in Plymouth, outside Detroit, where Sessions' Justice Department is hoping to have a gang member executed as part of a ramp-up in the federal government's use of the death penalty. Under the Obama administration, death-penalty authorizations were sought only in cases involving terrorism, the killing of children or law-enforcement officers, and murders by prisoners already serving life sentences. But Sessions — who as attorney general of Alabama tried to execute so many people he earned the nickname "Grim Reaper" — has taken a more ruthless approach. In January, his DOJ said it would seek the death penalty in the case of Detroiter Billy Arnold, a Seven Mile Bloods leader charged with killing two rivals. Sessions in March urged federal prosecutors to pursue the death penalty even in non-violent drug cases.
More recently, the trigger-happy AG has made headlines for his plans to criminally prosecute anyone who illegally crosses into the U.S. from Mexico and separate children from their parents.
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