Results matching “failsafe”

It's by now no surprise to readers that I have been doing what I can to oppose the so-called Smarter Sentencing Act.  I made probably my most comprehensive case against it here.

I'm delighted to see that, since I published that post, another reason why the SSA is unwise and unnecessary has become evident.  

Just this morning, as Sentencing Law and Policy notes, White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler announced at a conference at NYU Law School that the power of executive clemency "can serve as a 'fail-safe' for correcting errors that cannot be corrected by other means."  She did this in the course of explaining yet another commutation the President has issued.

Just so.  Ms. Ruemmler's remark, taken together with the unprecedented initiative of Deputy Attorney General James Cole to increase the exercise of this Presidential power, underscores my point that the putative horror stories of low-level defendants' being given long mandatory minimums do not constitute a valid reason to adopt a blunderbuss, across-the-board lowering of such sentences. 

As we now plainly see, the President stands ready to act where the judicial system has gone overboard.  Where the deserving already have a remedy, there is no cause, and considerable danger, in opening the floodgates for the undeserving.
Several weeks ago, the so-called Smarter Sentencing Act was passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 13-5 vote, with all ten Democrats and three Republicans (Lee, Cruz and Flake) voting in favor.  The opposition was led by Ranking Member Chuck Grassley.  I have previously analyzed the law and the politics of the SSA.  If enacted, it would be the most significant generally applicable piece of federal sentencing legislation since the SRA 30 years ago.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to address the Senate Republican Policy Committee about this bill, arguing that it should be defeated.  My friend John Malcolm of the Heritage Foundation, and chairman of the Federalist Society's Criminal Law Practice Group, took the other side.

My opening statement follows the break.  Please bear in mind that this was a partisan speech to a partisan audience; C&C itself is not partisan, although the views expressed here more often coincide with those of Republicans rather than Democrats.

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