Senate

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 »

Chairman Grassley then and now

Featured image Charles Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is sponsoring the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 (SRCA). That Act would mandate shorter sentences for certain drug offenders and cause the immediate release of many drug felons, including some who carried guns when they committed the drug offense. If the Senate passes this legislation, it will do so mainly because of Chairman Grassley’s support. But in March, Grassley gave »

Crime rate soars; Republicans join leftists in seeking release of felons

Featured image As ideological leftists and misguided conservatives rush to have felons released from prison, the crime rate continues to soar. It’s certainly soaring in Baltimore, where the recently-fired police chief says that cops are “taking a knee” in response to lack of support from city officials. According to Fox News: For September, homicides were up 39 percent and non-fatal shootings nearly doubled over the same month in 2014, continuing a disturbing »

Demand hearings on the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015

Featured image Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, calls the newly introduced Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 (SRCA) “a landmark piece of legislation.” Julie Stewart, the president of an anti-mandatory minimums organization, calls it, correctly, “the most significant sentencing reform legislation in a generation.” So when do the hearings on this momentous act begin? Never, it appears — unless the demand for them becomes irresistible. As I noted »

The second time around

Featured image Senate Republicans oppose the catastrophic deal into which President Obama has entered with Iran, yet they have been unable even to secure a vote on the merits. Senate Democrats including Minnesota’s own Al Franken (who undoubtedly thinks it’s a good deal) and Amy Klobuchar (who knows better but acts out of pure political calculation) have blocked a vote on the merits of the deal by means of the filibuster. The »

Coping with Corker-Cardin — a reply to Andy McCarthy

Featured image Andy McCarthy, whom we admire, has responded to a post in which I argued (1) that Congress should not follow the voting procedure established by the Corker-Cardin legislation, but (2) if Congress does follow this procedure it will not, by doing so, repeal any sanctions against Iran. Andy has been the leading proponent of the first proposition, but he disagrees with the second. In his original post, which prompted mine, »

What’s Brewing in the Senate?

Featured image Senator Marco Rubio was scheduled to be in the Twin Cities tomorrow, briefly, and I was set up to interview him. But I got word a few minutes ago that he won’t be leaving Washington because Mitch McConnell has scheduled a major vote on the Iran deal for tomorrow. What, exactly, will the vote be? I am not sure. Intrigue is swirling around the Corker-Cardin bill, the predicate for Congress’s »