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Attorney General Jeff Sessions is rescinding an Obama-era Justice Department letter that asked local courts across the country to be wary of slapping poor defendants with fines and fees to fill their jurisdictions’ coffers, part of a broad rollback of guidance that Sessions believes overreached.

It’s the latest move in Sessions’s effort to dramatically reshape the Justice Department by undoing many of the reforms imposed by his predecessors and giving the institution a harder edge. Sessions is revoking 25 previous guidance documents dating back decades and covering topics as diverse as ATF procedures and the Americans With Disabilities Act.

In a statement, Sessions said he was ending “the long-standing abuse of issuing rules by simply publishing a letter or posting a web page.”

“Congress has provided for a regulatory process in statute, and we are going to follow it,” Sessions said. “This is good government and prevents confusing the public with improper and wrong advice.”

Sessions rescinds Justice Dept. letter asking courts to be wary of stiff fines and fees for poor defendants

The move is the latest in the attorney general’s effort to reshape the Justice Department.


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