The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

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

Washington (AFP) – U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Tuesday argued convicts who have served their jail terms should have their civic rights re-instated, so they can vote and fully re-insert themselves in society.

“Across this country today, an estimated 5.8 million Americans -– 5.8 million of our fellow citizens –- are prohibited from voting because of current or previous felony convictions,” Holder said at a speech to Georgetown Law School.

“These restrictions are not only unnecessary and unjust, they are also counterproductive,” he said.

“By perpetuating the stigma and isolation imposed on formerly incarcerated individuals, these laws increase the likelihood they will commit future crimes.

“They undermine the reentry process and defy the principles — of accountability and rehabilitation — that guide our criminal justice policies,” he added.

Holder said it was time “to fundamentally rethink laws that permanently disenfranchise people who are no longer under federal or state supervision.”

Holder, who last year announced a major reform to the way the U.S. determines prison sentences, said these laws disenfranchising people who have committed felonies are “profoundly outdated.”

He argued the laws were created at “a time of post-Civil War discrimination,” and were “too often based on exclusion, animus, and fear.”

“The impact of felony disenfranchisement on modern communities of color remains both disproportionate and unacceptable,” Holder, the first African-American attorney general, lamented, emphasizing that as a result, nearly one out of 13 African-American men are banned from voting.

And “in three states — Florida, Kentucky, and Virginia — that ratio climbs to one in five.”

Last August, Holder announced plans to reduce the use of mandatory sentences for drug offenses, in a reform he said would remain strict but be “smarter.”

These mandatory minimums “reduce the discretion available to prosecutors, judges and juries,” he said, and “have had a destabilizing effect on particular communities, largely poor and of color.”

U.S. President Barack Obama in December commuted the sentences of eight people convicted of drug trafficking, to compensate the effects of laws punishing crack possession more harshly than cocaine possession.

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Pat McCrory

Youtube Screenshot

If former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory is any indication, the GOP primary wounds wrought in the last several months stand a good chance of bleeding into the general election this fall.

McCrory, who lost his bid Tuesday to become the Republican nominee for the Tar Heel State's open Senate seat, declined to endorse his GOP rival, Rep. Ted Budd, the Trump endorsee.

Keep reading... Show less

Dr. Mehmet Oz

Youtube Screenshot

Senate candidate Mehmet Oz thanked Fox News host Sean Hannity for advising him “behind the scenes,” helping to bring him to the cusp of a potential victory in Tuesday night’s primary in Pennsylvania — a revelation that further illustrates Hannity’s position as a Republican operative who leverages his media presence for political influence.

The Republican primary race could potentially go to a recount, with Oz currently ahead of former hedge fund manager Dave McCormick by a slender margin. The winner will face Democratic nominee Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who won his primary by a landslide. During a speech on Tuesday night, Oz first thanked his wife, his children, and his campaign staff and then called out two key political figures who endorsed him and advised him throughout the campaign: former President Donald Trump and Hannity.

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