Senate

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 »

It’s game-over on the Iran deal until at least 2017

Featured image This week, as expected, support in the Senate for President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran reached the level required to sustain a veto if the Senate votes the agreement down under the procedure established by the Corker-Cardin legislation. There’s also a good chance that Obama’s Senate support will be sufficient, in the end, for Democrats successfully to filibuster Senate consideration of the deal. Andy McCarthy argues, however, that it is »

Team Obama warns Schumer, unconvincingly

Featured image As John has noted, the White House didn’t take kindly to Chuck Schumer’s announcement that he opposes the Iran nuclear deal. The Washington Post didn’t exaggerate in today’s front-page headline (paper edition) that read: “Senator [Schumer] assailed on Iran stance: White House, allies go on the offensive.” Schumer has previously said that the timing of the passage of Obamacare was a political mistake. This makes the New York Senator 0-2 »

What Sen. Cruz said

Featured image The charter for the Export-Import Bank ended on June 30. That’s the good news. Congress now seems to be resurrecting the bank. That’s the bad news. The Wall Street Journal editorial reporting the events in process is “Raising Ex-Im from the dead” (accessible via Google here). The Journal editorial states that, as part of the trade bill jostling, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised Democrats a vote on renewing the »

Menendez alleges Justice Department lied to grand jury in his case

Featured image Sen. Robert Menendez’s defense team has leveled what look like substantial allegations of misconduct against the Justice Department, which is prosecuting him for alleged corruption. According to the Washington Post, Menendez claims, based on internal FBI documents, that the lead DOJ prosecutor in his case allowed an FBI agent falsely to testify to the grand jury that it was “perfectly clear” that in meetings with top DHS officials, Menendez sought »

Rand Paul and Ted Cruz move to the left of Lindsey Graham on terrorist rights

Featured image Earlier this week, the Senate passed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that limits the entire U.S. government to only the interrogation and detention techniques outlined in the Army Field Manual. The vote was 78-21. The Army Field Manual does not permit physical contact with detainees, not even a slap. The harshest method it permits the “Fear-Up (Harsh).” In this approach, “the interrogator behaves in an overpowering »

In which we hope it’s not worse than nothing

Featured image Omri Ceren writes to update us on today’s Senate vote passing the Corker-Menendez bill. The vote was 98-1 in favor, but the 1 was Senator Cotton, which raises the question whether the bill is worse than nothing. Omri writes: Cloture was 93-6 with only Sen. Boxer not voting. The final vote was 98-1. Sen. Cotton was the only no. The White House and its allies have mostly given up trying »