Senate

Ted Olson’s bad idea

Featured image The estimable Ted Olson, writing in the Wall Street Journal, argues in favor of Republicans giving Judge Merrick Garland, President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, “a good look, a respectful hearing and a vote on the merits.” More broadly, Olson calls for “a pact. . .among responsible Republican and Democratic leaders to give well-qualified Supreme Court nominees of either party a hearing and a vote within 120-180 days of a nomination.” »

Fatal flaws remain in revised leniency legislation for drug offenders

Featured image Team Leniency for Drug Felons, the bipartisan group of Senators that wants, among other things, to let thousands of federal drug felons out of jail, held a press conference today to announce its revised leniency legislation. The changes to the Senate bill that stalled late last year do little to improve it. As Senator David Perdue, one of the Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee who stood tall against »

In new push for releasing drug felons, consider the sources

Featured image Team Leniency for Drug Felons, the bipartisan group of Senators that wants, among other things, to let thousands of federal drug felons out of jail, is making another run at its vision of “sentencing reform.” Senators Grassley, Durbin, Cornyn, Leahy, Lee, Whitehouse, Graham, Booker, Scott, and Schumer will hold a press conference tomorrow to announce new provisions to the legislation proposed last October. They will also showcase new cosponsors. Mark »

Maryland Dems nominate Van Hollen for the Senate

Featured image Earlier this month, I wrote about the Democratic Senate primary in Maryland. It pitted Rep. Chris Van Hollen, a close ally of Nancy Pelosi, and Rep. Donna Edwards, an African-American running to Van Hollen’s left. The race turned pretty bitter. I viewed the dust-up between a cautious white leftist and a black radical as a sign of things to come. In another sign of things to come, Edwards touted her »

Clinton’s Senate accomplishments? Give Feinstein a week to think of one

Featured image In late August 1960, well into the presidential race between Richard Nixon and John Kennedy, this exchange occurred during President Eisenhower’s press conference: Q. We understand that the power of decision is entirely yours, Mr. President. I just wondered if you could give us an example of a major idea of [Nixon’s] that you had adopted in that role, as the decider and final– THE PRESIDENT. If you give me »

Obama’s phony regret

Featured image More than 3,500 days after the fact, President Obama claims he regrets filibustering the nomination of Justice Alito to the Supreme Court. To be more precise, White House press secretary Josh Ernest makes this claim on Obama’s behalf. Obama himself has made no such public statement. Instead, as Scott notes, he has tried to talk his way out of the obvious contradiction between his filibuster of Altio and his insistence »

Let’s hear it for the “hawkish upstart”

Featured image There isn’t much in the current political scene that brings a smile to my face, but the opening paragraph in this Politico article did: Sen. Tom Cotton, the hawkish upstart who’s already made waves railing against the Iran nuclear deal and government surveillance programs, is now leading a new rebellion against a bipartisan effort to overhaul the criminal justice system — hoping to torpedo one of the few pieces of »

What’s up with the Senate Judiciary Committee? Part Two

Featured image Today, the Senate easily confirmed the nomination of Luis Felipe Restrepo to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Restrepo spent years as a public defender and in private practice as a criminal defense and “civil rights” attorney. An obvious left-winger, he naturally had the enthusiastic support of groups of that persuasion. Before the vote on Restrepo, Sen. Charles Grassley, the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, made »

What’s up with the Senate Judiciary committee?

Featured image It’s not always easy these days to tell which party controls the Senate Judiciary Committee. That’s never a problem when the Democrats have a majority in the Senate. In this circumstance, Senator Patrick Leahy leaves no room for doubt, holding hearings to push liberal causes and, if there’s Republican administration, to harass it to the maximum extent possible. With Republicans in the majority and Charles Grassley chairing the committee, it’s »

Memo to Marco Rubio: Do your job

Featured image Senator and presidential candidate Marco Rubio is compiling a dreadful Senate attendance record. When he cast a Senate vote last week, it was his first in 26 days. When he gave a floor speech, it was his first in 41. Naturally, Rubio has come under attack for this record by some of his GOP presidential rivals, including Donald Trump and Jeb Bush. Rubio responds that he’s fed up with the »

Ryan Zinke for Congress. . .and the Senate

Featured image What’s the most significant development in American electoral politics since the election of President Obama? Some say it’s the deepening division within the Republican Party. Others say it’s the beating Democrats have taken at the state and local level of politics. Here’s a third possibility which is related to the second: the success of Republican Senate and House candidates in Red States. This success is nearly complete in the South »

Sentencing reform clears committee, but may not reach the floor this year [Corrected]

Featured image As expected, the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 (more accurately called the Drug Dealers’ Relief Act) has cleared the Judiciary Committee. That’s the bad news. The good news is that five members, including Ted Cruz, voted against it. The others were Orin Hatch, Jeff Sessions, David Vitter, and David Perdue. With five Republican members opposed, it seems unlikely that the bill will make it to the Senate floor »

The folly of empowering judges to go easy on criminals

Featured image I’ve written before about the problem of under-incarceration in America. Too many criminals who should be in jail are instead on the streets, having received ridiculously low sentences for prior offenses or having been released outright by liberal judges. The under-incarceration problem manifested itself again this week. Tyrone Howard is a 30-year-old criminal with 16 prior arrests, mostly for drug offenses, and 12 prior incarcerations. He stands accused of shooting »

Senate Democrats vote to preserve sanctuary cities

Featured image By a vote of 54-45, the has Senate failed to prevent a “filibuster” of legislation to rein in sanctuary cities that shield illegal-alien criminals from deportation. Republicans thus fell six votes short of the super-majority needed to bring the bill to the Senate floor for debate. Only two Democrats — Manchin and Donnelly — voted to have debate on the bill. One Republican — Kirk — voted not to. Lindsey »

Ed Meese denounces the rush to pass sentencing reform

Featured image Ed Meese was Attorney General of the United States when the nation finally said “enough” to crime and to the lenient sentencing by federal judges that was helping to fuel it. This was the beginning of reforms, most notably in the form of mandatory minimum sentencing, that led to a 50 percent reduction in crime. Naturally, then, Meese is concerned about the attempt of a “gang” of bipartisan Senators to »

Judiciary committee goes through the motions in hearing on major sentencing reform

Featured image This afternoon, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015. Echoing what many have said, Chairman Grassley called this legislation “the most significant criminal justice reform legislation in a generation.” Yet, the Committee saw fit to hold only three hours of hearings on it. Moreover, the hearings took place on the Monday after a long recess, a nearly unprecedented move by the »

Sentenced to be snookered

Featured image The Weekly Standard has published an article Bill Otis and I wrote opposing the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015. We thank the Standard for enabling us to sound the alarm on the effort, by Senators who should know better, to undo two decades of success in the fight against crime. I also want to thank readers who, in response to my request, called Senators to demand hearings on »