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In Baltimore, progress by decrees

In Baltimore, progress by decrees

Good thing Baltimore and the U.S. Justice Department will finish a consent decree on policing before Inauguration Day. With Alabama's Jeff Sessions likely to become U.S. attorney general, there's no guarantee he would stay on the path established by his predecessor. Sessions is not a fan of consent decrees.

"One of the most dangerous, and rarely discussed, exercises of raw power is the issuance of expansive court decrees," Sessions wrote in the foreword to a think-tank paper in 2008. "Consent decrees ... constitute an end run around the democratic process." And, Sessions added, their remedies are costly to taxpayers.

Others argue that consent decrees, in...