The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

(Reuters) — Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton called on Friday for a series of criminal justice reforms that include a ban on racial profiling by law enforcement and elimination of sentencing disparities for crack and powder cocaine offenses.

At a campaign event in Atlanta, Clinton also promised to sign an order to “ban the box,” prohibiting federal employers and contractors from asking about criminal histories at the initial application stage. The change would give job seekers a chance to first prove their qualifications.

“People who have paid their dues to society need to be able to find jobs,” Clinton said at a rally at Clark Atlanta University, where she rolled out an “African Americans for Hillary” group and had lunch with a group of black ministers. “We believe in second chances, don’t we?”

The proposals were designed to appeal to black voters who will play a crucial role in her campaign for the Democratic Party nomination in the November 2016 election against closest challenger Bernie Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont.

Clinton was interrupted briefly by protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement, but pressed on with her speech. The protesters were eventually removed.

She promised to back legislation to ban federal, state and local law enforcement from relying on ethnicity when initiating routine investigations, and change sentencing rules so crack and powder cocaine convictions are treated the same.

All of the changes are aimed at laws that Clinton said disproportionately hurt minorities. Currently, those convicted of using crack face far steeper penalties than powder users.

“We’re talking about two forms of the same drug,” she said. “It makes no sense to treat them differently.”

Crack, the smoked “hard” form of cocaine, is cheaper than the usually snorted powder version and is more widespread in lower-income communities. Government data from 2009 showed nearly 80 percent of those convicted of crack cocaine offenses were black. Powder cocaine users tend to be white.

Sanders said he agreed with Clinton’s initiative on ending sentencing disparities but any “serious” criminal justice reform should include his proposal to remove marijuana from the list of the most dangerous drugs outlawed by the federal government, a step Clinton has not endorsed.

“We must recognize that blacks are four times more likely than whites to get arrested for marijuana possession, even though the same proportion of blacks and whites use marijuana,” Sanders said in a statement.

(Reporting by John Whitesides and Amanda Becker; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Grant McCool)

Photo: U.S. Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at the Littleton Rural Economic Roundtable at Littleton High School in Littleton, New Hampshire October 29, 2015. REUTERS/Katherine Taylor

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Ivanka Trump told the House Select Committee investigating the violent January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol that she accepted former Attorney General William P. Barr’s assertions that her father’s stolen election claims are “bullshit.”

But the New York Times revealed on Tuesday that for more than a month after the election, Trump’s fruitless legal crusade to overturn the 2020 election results had his eldest daughter’s complete and total backing. Per the Times, Ivanka told a documentary film crew in mid-December 2020 that she wanted Trump to “continue to fight until every legal remedy is exhausted” because “a lot of Americans” were supposedly questioning “the sanctity of our elections.”

Keep reading... Show less

Wandrea "Shaye" Moss

YouTube Screenshot

Georgia election worker Wandrea “Shaye” Moss was collateral damage in Fox News’ campaign to prop up Donald Trump’s false claims of election fraud following the 2020 presidential election.

In December 2020, the network’s prime-time hosts and “straight news” personnel alike baselessly suggested that Moss and her mother and fellow election worker, Ruby Freeman, had participated in a fraud scheme. The Fox personalities don’t seem to regret their actions: After Moss described the impact those conspiracy theories had on her life to the January 6 House select committee on Tuesday, the network devoted all of 14 seconds to her testimony.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}