Recently in Politics Category
Senate leaders on Tuesday resolved a partisan dispute over abortion funding that had snarled a bill aimed at curbing human trafficking for more than a month and prevented the chamber from voting on attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said that the Senate would begin to consider Ms. Lynch's nomination "hopefully in the next day or so." He has said that the Senate wouldn't vote on Ms. Lynch, nominated by Mr. Obama last year, until the dispute over the trafficking bill had been resolved.
[E]ven if the vast majority of Senators strongly support significant reforms to federal mandatory minimum sentencing provisions or to federal marijuana provisions, Senator Grassley can ensure-- at least until 2017, and perhaps after that if the GOP retains control of the Senate -- that federal reform bills do not even get a committee hearing, let alone a committee vote. Indeed, even if the vast majority of 300 million Americans, and even if the vast majority of the 718,215 Iowans who voted for Senator Grassley in 2010, would strongly favor a reform bill, the bill is likely DOA if Senator Grassley himself is not keen on the bill's particulars. Frustratingly, that is how our democracy now functions.
The Paul campaign says the senator's words were misunderstood. "Sen. Paul was referring to nonviolent crimes," campaign spokeswoman Eleanor May told me via email, adding that the passage in question was "a reference to his criminal justice reforms."
I see an America where criminal justice is applied equally and any law that disproportionately incarcerates people of color is repealed.
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - U.S. Sen. Rand Paul said Thursday that the disproportionate number of minorities in the nation's prisons convinced him to push for sentencing reform and restoring voting rights to some convicted felons ahead of a possible presidential run in 2016.
However, the fact that there are a disproportionate number of minorities on death row in the U.S. has not led him to scrutinize capital punishment. He said the death penalty is a state issue.
"I haven't had a lot of feedback specifically on that," Paul told The Associated Press in a phone interview. "I just haven't taken a position on the death penalty."
This is a deficient answer for at least three reasons. First, it's not just a state issue; federal law provides for the death penalty in some cases, and the voters are entitled to know whether Paul, as President, would seek to repeal, or would simply refuse to employ, that provision. Second, Paul is a resident of a state that has capital punishment, and it would be illuminating to know where he stands on that "state issue." Third, the answer is a fairly obvious dodge. Especially now, as the Boston Marathon bomber case heads towards resolution, let's hear from Sen. Paul if he approves -- as even Eric Holder does -- allowing the jury to consider the death penalty for Mr. Tsarnaev.
Hook describes Paul as having a "libertarian-leaning brand of conservatism." My impression is that he is a straight libertarian who agrees with conservatives only when those two very different paths happen to reach the same endpoint. (See Jonathan Haidt for a more complete explanation of conservative v. libertarian mindsets.)
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has a feature on Paul's stands on issues. The one relevant to this blog is:
This is an issue that largely sets Paul apart from the rest of the Republican field. He wants to restore voting rights to nonviolent convicted felons, eliminate mandatory minimum sentences, end the federal sentencing disparities between crack and powder cocaine and make it easier for people to expunge their criminal records. He has partnered with Democrats on most of those issues, which might broaden his appeal nationally should he win the GOP nomination.It not only sets him apart from the rest of the Republican field, it sets him apart from most Republican voters, one reason to very much doubt that he has any realistic chance of winning the nomination.
Here we go again.
The technique I have always thought should be used more often is to tell the filibusterers, "Fine. Stall as long as you want. By the way, the vote on something you want very much will be taken after the vote on the bill you are filibustering."
So, there is a bill in the Senate to combat human trafficking. Who can be against that, right? Well, there is a provision in the bill extending the Hyde Amendment prohibition on use of federal funds for abortion. (CJLF takes no position on this.) Democrats are filibustering the bill. Sen. McConnell is putting off the vote on the confirmation of Loretta Lynch.
[There are] several responses to the DOJ's attack on Ferguson's enforcement of its ordinances pertaining to matters such as parking. First, it is none of the federal government's business. The price of a parking ticket and the penalties for not paying them on time are issues of purely local concern.
Second, there is no basis for inferring racism from Ferguson's parking enforcement practices. Cities and municipalities throughout the nation generate revenue from the policing of parking violations and the like.
For example, Washington, DC, whose government is run by African-American officials, raises a significant amount of revenue by ticketing parking violators, including a large number of white suburbanites who park in the District (me, for example). This isn't racism or even anti-suburban bias. It's not personal; it's just business.
Third, there's an easy way to thwart "revenue generation through policing." Obey the parking rules and other municipal ordinances, and don't exceed the speed limit. In the event of a violation, pay your fine on time and don't blow off any court appearances. Is this too much to ask?
If Senators Rand Paul and Corey Booker have had anything to say about the Big Government absurdity of federal clucking about parking tickets, I haven't seen it. Federalism, it seems, is a sometime thing.
The state House deadlocked Monday 50-50 on a bill to abolish the death penalty in Montana, likely killing the measure for the 2015 Legislature.While the vote is welcome, it is unfortunate and worrisome that they got that close. Repeal supporters have swung marginal votes with arguments that the process takes too long and costs too much, when the obvious answer is to make in faster and, in the process, cheaper.* * *Monday's vote fell largely along party lines, with most Republicans against it - but it took three of the House's 41 Democrats voting "no" to reject the bill, which would abolish the death penalty in Montana and substitute it with life in prison without parole. Montana has two murderers on death row.
The way to make review of death penalty cases faster and cheaper while making it more reliable with regard to genuine miscarriages of justice is to limit all repeated reviews, after the first full round of review, to questions with some bearing on actual innocence.
Kitzhauber's December 6, 2011 reprieve, quoted in the Oregon Supreme Court's decision in Haugen v. Kitzhaber, S060761 (June 20, 2013), reads,
NOW, THEREFORE, by virtue of the authority vested in me by Article V, Section 14 of the Oregon Constitution, I, John A. Kitzhaber, MD, Governor of the State of Oregon, hereby grant Gary D. Haugen a temporary reprieve of the aforementioned death sentence for the duration of my service as Governor.The duration of his service is over. The reprieve is over. What next?
The new Governor, until-today Secretary of State Kate Brown, can and should allow the law to take its course. The primary thing wrong with the death penalty is that the judgments take too long to carry out. Imposing a moratorium as a remedy makes no more sense than the nineteenth-century doctors bleeding patients as a remedy.
But will she?