Great piece in Newsweek chronicling how we got to the current war on the judiciary, including some stuff I had not heard of before:
One prominent target: Judge James Rosenbaum, chief judge of the U.S. District Court in Minnesota. Called to testify before a House subcommittee in 2002, Rosenbaum
Since I’ve lately taken to tilting against you in the Sullivanesque-hyperbole phase you’re going through, just thought I’d do the “hat-tip” thing for standing against mandatory minimum sentences.
Now back to our regularly scheduled death match.
I think the republican party has officially jumped the shark.
Actually, mandatory minimum sentences are good, if only because before they were enacted liberal judges would give stupidly light sentences for heinous crimes. Can’t do that with mandatory minimums. Erodes judicial discretion, you say? Indeed, it does. But judges have shown a propensity for abusing that discretion anyway.
Darned liberal Reagan appointees…
Because a sentence written by a congressman is able to deal with subtlety and nuance so much better than a person. I mean, a congressman doesn’t actually have to deal with the consequences of his actions, now does he?
Remember, mandatory minimums are applied in a highly selective basis. You would do more time for giving your brother a joint than you would for raping him. On what planet is this a reasonable position to take?
” liberal judges would give stupidly light sentences for heinous crimes”
Yeah, but the mandatory sentences aren’t for the heinous crimes, now, are they? This argument is a red herring like the “family farms lost to the estate tax” It is to make it sound like some lefty judge let a serial killer off with community service…
Mandatory sentencing for low-level drug offenses has been proven over the years to be a joke (just ask New York state). No deterence, overcrowded prisons, and mild offenders dealt with far too harshly with no regard to circumstances.
M. Scott Eiland
“Yeah, but the mandatory sentences aren’t for the heinous crimes, now, are they?”
I find myself in rare agreement with Mr. Furious on this point–the problem isn’t with mandatory sentences per se, it’s that they’re being applied to crimes where they serve no useful purpose. Mandatory minimums for violent crimes (murder, rape, arson, felony assault, et al) make a world of sense and uses scarce maximum security prison space for those it was designed for. Sentencing low-level drug dealers and users to multiyear sentences in cases where no violence was involved is not an efficient use of that space, and should be avoided.
You’d think it would be pretty obvious by now that just because something is illegal doesn’t mean people won’t do it. You’re just going to waste more tax dollars housing and feeding someone who got high. But then these are the same people (ideaologically) as the ones who thought making booze illegal would stop drinking. Just made it a crime right? We have congress working to remove a huge chunk of revenue by rescinding the estate and gift tax while at the same time creating a system that requires more tax dollars. Tax cut and spend anyone?
I’m not for mandatory sentences for low level crimes- But I know a guy who went to jail for murder. He shot the guy 16 times with three different guns. How long was he in jail? 3 years. I saw him on the street last week. Justify that.
And the guy who goes to jail for 25 years for a first time drug offense took the place of the murder in the overcrowded jail.
Mandatory minimums for drug offenses.
‘He shot the guy 16 times with three different guns. How long was he in jail? 3 years. I saw him on the street last week. Justify that.’
I can only assume there was a whole lot more to the story than what you just relayed. I know someone who gunned two people down with a machine gun and got no time, self defense, they were coming to kill him. I know someone else who just got out of jail after 20 years also for murder. Again self defense but his attacker was unarmed so he got time. I know people who get high. A mandatory minimum sentence for smoking a bowl would destroy them. Just because you get out in two years doesn’t mean you get your life back. The only job you can even get now is manual labor and you’d be lucky to get that. No one hires ex-cons.
The radical right’s war on the judiciary, in conjunction with the radical evangicals, it threatening to create an American Taliban. Before you laugh, consider: the upcoming Judiciary Sunday, broadcast from a church, with our Republican Congressional leaders taking part; many, many evangelical churches that have almost literally turned their worship services into military exercises; the conflation of disagreement with the religious leaders as treason; a desire to eliminate the judges, and have the religious leaders make the decisions regarding any dispute (when disputes are even condoned).
Call me loony if you want, but as a confirmed liberal it seems that John Cole is what we used to refer to as a true conservative: balanced budgets, stay out of my personal life, and peace in the world through sane and responsible diplomacy. It is amazing how quaint (to quote Alberto Gonzoles) that seems after only 4 + years of Bush and 10 years of Republican control in the Congress.
I fear for my civil liberties; I fear for our economy and our environment; I fear for my country. The rule of LAW, not of MAN, has been the foundation and principal cause of our sustained democratic republic. The new American Taliban will surely destroy it.
Mr. Cole, keep preaching it out like you see it. It is frightening how rational debate has become intolerable on just about any topic, but especially on Iraq and now on the judiciary. Thanks, and I’ll look forward to your future posts.