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June 27, 2005

Another editorial criticizing the Gonzales speech

This morning, the Reading Eagle of Pennsylvania added itself to the group of papers editorializing against AG Alberto Gonzales speech last week advocating a Booker fix (basics here, commentary here and here and here).  I found this editorial especially interesting, not only because it is in blog format so readers can comments, but also because it connects the Gonzales speech the grousing by some members of Congress about "activist judges."  Here are some snippets from the editorial:

Talk about convoluted logic: The solution to judges legislating from the bench is for lawmakers to sentence convicts from the halls of Congress.  As we said in January after the Supreme Court ruled, judges must be allowed to use discretion in handing down sentences.  Without that discretion the judiciary, one of three equal branches of the federal government, becomes simply an administrative arm of the legislative branch.

Just as important, the legacy of mandatory minimums has been overcrowded prisons and the soaring costs of housing inmates, many of whom would benefit more from probation and placement in rehabilitation programs. It is more than a little ironic that many of the states that passed mandatory-minimum sentences in the law-and-order days of the 1980s have begun to back away from them because of the financial burdens they have created....

Congress must resist the urge to sentence from the Capitol. It's time to change tactics and start concentrating on alternatives to prison. In the long run, the country will be better off financially and socially.

June 27, 2005 at 08:44 AM | Permalink

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