Recently in Politics Category
Yesterday, the Texas Third Court of Appeals threw out one of the charges brought against former Governor Rick Perry. This WSJ editorial summarizes the case:
A special prosecutor in notorious Travis County essentially charged Mr. Perry for exercising his constitutional right to oppose and veto an act of the legislature. Mr. Perry threatened to veto a funding bill for the Travis County District Attorney's Public Integrity Unit unless D.A. Rosemary Lehmberg resigned. She had been arrested and pleaded guilty to drunk driving, but she refused to resign and Mr. Perry followed through with the veto. The charges boil down to criminalizing routine political debate and controversies.The procedural mechanism invoked by Perry is a pretrial writ of habeas corpus. Under Texas case law, this procedure can only be used for facial challenges to statutes, not "as applied" challenges. The Court of Appeal held that the Coercion of Public Servant statute was unconstitutional on its face. It regulates speech, and its prohibition of threats is not limited to "true threats" within the meaning of the U.S. Supreme Court cases on that point.
Perry's challenge to the charge of Abuse of Official Capacity is not cognizable in this proceeding, so that one will have to be thrown out at some point down the line.
The Obama administration objects to key provisions in a bipartisan criminal justice bill in the House that has picked up support from both the tough-on-crime end of the Republican Party and advocates of overhauling federal prison sentencing guidelines, BuzzFeed News has learned.
The bill's sponsors say the Safe, Accountable, Fair, Effective Justice Reinvestment Act of 2015 -- or SAFE Act -- takes the best ideas from state criminal justice efforts in recent years and applies them to the federal system, but Obama administration officials have told supporters of the bill they don't like several of its provisions, including a key one that would essentially create a federal version of the drug court programs an increasing number of states use to divert low-level, first-time drug offenders away from prison and into probation.
Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley apologized on Saturday for saying "All lives matter" while discussing police violence against African-Americans with liberal demonstrators.
Several dozen demonstrators interrupted the former Maryland governor while he was speaking here at the Netroots Nation conference, a gathering of liberal activists, demanding that he address criminal justice and police brutality. When they shouted, "Black lives matter!" a rallying cry of protests that broke out after several black Americans were killed at the hands of police in recent months, O'Malley responded: "Black lives matter. White lives matter. All lives matter."
The demonstrators, who were mostly black, responded by booing him and shouting him down.
When the President of the United States hypes racial grievance at every turn, this is what you get.
Given Obama's disregard for enforcing laws he dislikes and his aggressive desire to transform the country and dismantle law enforcement, this development [much greater use of clemency than in recent decades] should put goose bumps on anyone concerned with the rule of law, aka, most Americans outside of public policy circles. If Obama is this alacritous to sign a get-out-of-jail free card with 18 months left to his presidency, it's clear that this is the tip of the iceberg.
With much of Obama's amnesty for illegal aliens on hold as a result of [a federal district] court's injunction, the legislator-in-chief is looking for every remaining opportunity to fundamentally transform America from the Oval Office... His next conquest is the dismantling of law and order and criminal justice laws that have helped lead to a miraculous decline in violent crime over the past two decades.
Good point. How is it that the President found time to pay an amicable and understanding call on convicted traffickers in hard drugs, but couldn't so much as have an Assistant Secretary drop a line to murder victims' families? Or, for that matter, to the families of the two policemen assassinated in New York?On Monday, Obama announced his plan to commute the sentences of 46 drug offenders serving time in federal prison, bringing the total number of commutations to 86 since he has taken office. He even had time to write them a personal letter as he ignored the family of Kate Steinle and other victims of violent crime, such as Kevin Southerland who was gruesomely stabbed to death on the subway right in the nation's capital. While libertarians and some conservatives are supportive of targeted changes to drug laws, everyone should be gravely concerned about where this is coming from and where it's headed.
The 46 sentence reductions [Obama granted today] are the most presidential commutations in a single day since at least the administration of President Lyndon Johnson, according to the White House. Overall, Obama has commuted sentences of 89 people, surpassing the combined number of commutations granted by Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
They represent a sliver of all those seeking clemency: Justice Department statistics show that roughly 2,100 commutation petitions have been received so far this fiscal year, and about 7,900 are pending.
White House counsel Neil Eggleston predicted the president would issue even more commutations before leaving office, but added that "clemency alone will not fix decades of overly punitive sentencing policies."
The president this week is devoting considerable attention to criminal justice. In addition to his speech Tuesday [to the NAACP Convention] in Philadelphia, he is to become the first sitting president to visit a federal prison when he goes to the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution outside of Oklahoma City on Thursday. He'll meet with both law enforcement officials and inmates.
Some might think that "overly punitive sentencing policies" had something to do with the dramatic drop in crime in the last quarter century, but that goes unmentioned in the story and unseen in the President's outlook.
Welcome to the 1970s! In New York, anyway, one of the decades Tom Wolfe denominated "purple" has made a stunning comeback. Consider crime. After a precipitous decline that began under the mayoralty of Rudy Giuliani and continued under Michael Bloomberg, violent crime has soared in the city. From May 2014 to the end of May this year, shootings increased almost 10 per cent while murders jumped a stunning 19.5 per cent during the same period. Meanwhile, Central Park has once again become a haven for thieves and muggers. "Police are investigating another mugging in Central Park," begins a May 20 story in the New York Post, "the latest in a string of robberies that has residents on edge."
The centrepiece of Bill de Blasio's mayoral campaign in 2013 was a promise to end one of the most effective weapons against violent crime: "stop and frisk", the practice by the police of stopping, questioning and, in some cases, frisking suspicious characters. De Blasio wanted to end the practice because the overwhelming majority of those stopped and frisked were Black. The reason for this was that the overwhelming majority of suspicious characters that the police encountered were Black, but that reality did not prevent de Blasio from pretending that the practice was inexcusably racist. Former Police Commissioner Ray Kelly warned that "people would suffer" if the prophylactic practice was abandoned. No matter. It was too good an opportunity for a left-wing demagogue to ignore.
"We don't have all the facts, but we do know that once again innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun," he continued. "Now is the time for mourning and for healing, but let's be clear: At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn't happen in other places with this kind of frequency."