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Four Republican Senators side with Holder on mandatory minimums

Let the record show that in the battle between Attorney General Holder and the Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys over slashing mandatory minimum sentences for serious drug crimes, four Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee sided with Holder. The four are Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, and Jeff Flake.

It was predictable that Paul would agree with Holder and the criminal defense bar on this one, and it’s not shocking that the others did. But I find it disheartening that the four would permit what looks like knee-jerk libertarianism to override the strong arguments against Holder’s gift to the drug pushers.

Bill Otis offers six reasons why the four might have voted as they did. Distrust of government probably lies close to the heart of it, even though the government has been quite successful in helping to bring about a major reduction in crime. However, as Bill says, it may be tempting to “throw out the crime reduction baby with the too-much-government bathwater,” especially if one isn’t fond of criminalizing drugs to begin with.

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