During his Monday morning appearance on Breitbart News Daily with SiriusXM host Stephen K. Bannon, former Assistant U.S. Attorney and National Review senior fellow Andy McCarthy described the sentencing reform bill that could slash mandatory minimum sentences as the product of an unhealthy political alliance — “the worst combination of bad elements coming together.”
McCarthy said this alliance includes “the Black Lives Matter movement: the people who, hilariously, want to say that the criminal justice system is racist.”
He found some humor in the notion that the famously left-leaning legal profession would produce an “institutionally racist system.”
“It actually pretty much bends over backward the other way, which is why you get voodoo like ‘disparate impact’ theories, and that sort of stuff get accepted in court, ” he said. “They’re open to that kind of lunacy. This is the least racist institution that you can imagine, and everything from the Left side critique of this proceeds on the premise that the system is institutionally racist.”
On the conservative side of sentencing and criminal justice reform, McCarthy noted there were people who “are either of a libertarian bent of mind, or see themselves as Constitutional conservatives, who think that law enforcement is inherently a state function, that the federal government shouldn’t have anything to do with it anyway. Therefore, they’re open to almost anything that cuts out the federal role in law enforcement.”
“So you have this sort of circle of people coming together, plus you have people like Ryan and the Republican establishment, who are dying to show that they can govern and make Washington work,” said McCarthy, referring to House Speaker Paul Ryan. He agreed with Bannon that pursuit of media approval for their ostensible compassion and sensitivity was another reason GOP Establishment figures often fell in line behind liberal programs.
This misguided alliance between the Left, libertarian Right, and Republican leadership is attacking policies like mandatory minimum sentencing, which McCarthy noted “is crucial to the government for both breaking up these big drug cartels and these big drug organizations, and getting cooperation on them.
“They say there’s something wrong with the mandatory minimums, that they take away the judicial function,” he observed. “You know, when I was a young prosecutor, one of the first big drug cases I had, we get to sentencing day, and I’m expecting the judge to throw the book at the guy. And the judge turns to the defendant before he sentences him and says, ‘You know, I believe you lied in your testimony, but I understand why you thought you needed to do it’ — and basically walked him out the door. And that was the kind of stuff that was going on before mandatory minimums were put in, in the mid-1980s or so.”
“What I want people to understand about mandatory minimum is: this is you, the American people, deciding what kind of sentences serious offenders should have,” McCarthy said.
“What was happening, in the case of serious offenses, because we have a lot of left-leaning judges walking people who should have been in jail out the door,” he explained. “And what happened was the people’s representatives — who get to control things like sentencing and the definition of crimes — got together and said, ‘No, no, no, if you do X crime, if it’s drugs and it involves this amount of narcotics, you have to do 5 years. And if it’s a bigger amount, you have to do 10 years. And if there’s a gun involved, we’re gonna tack 5 more years on.’ The reason they did this was precisely to prevent judges from treating serious felony conduct like it was frivolous.”
“The great thing about it is, if we get it wrong, the people’s representatives can amend the laws — you know, tweak them up or tweak them down,” he emphasized. “But what they want to take us back to is a system where there’s basically no rules. If you want to go back to a system like that, we can do that, but you know, President Obama’s going to have put on about 400 judges on the bench by the time he’s done. If you think that’s a good environment for letting these judges just decide, on their own, how much time serious offenders should do, I think we’re gonna have havoc.”
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