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One More Reason We Don't Need Congressional Sentencing "Reform"

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The reason is that Barack Obama will do the "reforming" all by himself.  He showed this again today by issuing yet more (literal) "get-out-of-jail-free" cards.  He has now issued more commutations than his immediate four predecessors combined  -- Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.  But that's OK, because we know that Obama is a more humane and far-sighted man than any of those cretins.  Either that, or his political base is rooted in criminality and the Soros-funded interest groups that speak up for it, and him.

There several notable things about today's dozens of clemencies  --  notable for their implications about politics, governance, and justice.  For now, I want to discuss just one: The red flag raised for pro-sentencing "reform" Republicans.
Let's think about what today's action implies about the so-called need to reduce sentences by legislation. The initial problem, as I have argued many times, is that the "need" is illusory:  Our system is successful, not broken; releasing prisoners will not reduce DOJ's budget (the money will just get spent elsewhere in the Department); and releasing drug traffickers is contrary to the overwhelming public desire to do more, not less, to keep dealers off the street.

Let's put all that to one side for the moment.

What today's boatload of commutations shows, undeniably in my view, is that if legally imposed sentences are excessive, they can readily be remedied without legislation.  The real danger our country faces for at least the next 13 months is not that leniency will go wanting while "deserving" drug dealers (do you love that phrase?) suffer; it's that it will be overused to reward the President's buddies.  See, e.g., the night of January 19, 2001.

Republican senators and representatives need to wake up.  To give this Administration the leniency-driven legislation it's pushing is a fool's errand.  First, there is no need to do it (and a public safety need NOT to); and second, if some in this country  --  like the President and those who share his ideology  -- are determined to go down this road anyway, let them take the responsibility when the recidivists among the releasees sell the next overdose batch to some high school addict, or set free the "non-violent" trafficker who, three weeks later, starts a shoot-'em-up turf war in which some bystander gets killed.

Now of course there's a possibility (though small) that those things might not happen.  The question is why Republicans want to take the risk, thus inviting what will be thoroughly deserved blame  --  moral blame, which should be enough, and electoral blame to boot.  Or, to put it bluntly:  If a trafficker released under the current "reform" legislation shows up in your state and kills someone during the time that, but for the legislation, he would still have been in prison, what's your answer going to be?

If you vote for this legislation, it would be a good idea to have one of your staffers draft one now.  You're going to need the rehearsals.

We already knew, from recidivism statistics and from polling, that early release  of hard drug traffickers is neither safe nor popular.  What today's giddy Clemency Fest tells us is that it's also unnecessary.  There's no need for Congress to travel down this dangerous and divisive path when President Obama can and will, all by himself.

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