As noted in comments, Opposing Views has the info on the Senate Judiciary Committee plans this week:
This Thursday, December 3, members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee will debate Senate Bill 714, The National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2009. The time and location of the hearing are available here […]
Itâ€™s been many years since a federally appointed commission has taken an objective look at American criminal justice policies, and itâ€™s been nearly 40 years since federal lawmakers have undertaken a critical examination of U.S. marijuana policy. Please take time today to urge your United States senators to support Senate Bill 714. If your senators sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee, then it is especially important that that they hear from you. For your convenience, a pre-written letter will be e-mailed to your members of Congress when you enter your contact information here.
In unfortunately potentially related news…
I’m only peripherally aware of the crime du jour — the Seattle shooting that left officers dead, apparently committed by someone whose earlier sentence was commuted years ago by Mike Huckabee. In this story, I share Mark Draghn’s concerns…
I’m more worried that it will lead to an election-fueled backlash against lenient treatment of prisoners. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that a guy who kills four cops should be let out the door, and if our legislators can craft a fine-tuned change to the law to prevent such catatrophes, I’m all for it.
The thing is, our legislators can’t do that.
And yes, we already have liberals chomping at the bit to make political hay out of this tragedy. Stella Barkwell at Crooks and Liars, Tristero at Hullabaloo, and Joe Conason at Salon are prime examples of people who likely would have had a completely different take on the story back when Dukakis was being tarred with Willie Horton.
TalkLeft treats the story right, noting likely poor judgement, but cautioning against backlash.
We can’t get in the position where Governors and Presidents are afraid to pardon or commute the sentences of anyone. After all, our current President finally, finally made his first pardon last week… and it wasn’t even for a human.
Taking bets: Will Orrin Hatch, Chuck Grassley, or Tom Coburn find a creative way to bring this up on Thursday to sabotage criminal justice reform despite being on the same side of the aisle as Huckabee? Or maybe newly minted Democrat Arlen Specter? Or will it be Democrat Dianne Feinstein looking to take political advantage? If so, who will be first?