« "Finality and the Capital/Non-Capital Punishment Divide" | Main | Can, should and will AG Sessions seek a federal prosecution of Garcia Zarate after "disgraceful verdict in the Kate Steinle case"? »

November 30, 2017

Does federal statutory sentencing reform become a bit more likely if Senator Tom Cotton were to become CIA Director?

The question in the title of this post is what kept coming to mind as I scanned this new Washington Post article headlined "White House readies plan to replace Tillerson with Pompeo at State, install Cotton at CIA." Here is the start of the piece:

The White House has readied a plan to oust embattled Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and replace him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who has become one of the most personally loyal and politically savvy members of President Trump's national security team, two administration officials confirmed Thursday.

The plan, hatched by White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, is expected to be set in motion over the next few weeks, and has broad support within Trump's inner circle, the officials said. But it was unclear whether Trump had signed off on the plan yet, and the president has been known to change his mind about personnel and other matters before finalizing decisions with public announcements.

Under the plan, Pompeo would likely be replaced at the CIA by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), one of Trump's most steadfast defenders and a confidant to some leading members of the foreign policy team, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the White House has not publicly announced the moves.

Federal statutory sentencing reform has not made much progress this year while GOP leadership in Congress has been focused on health care and tax reform. But, as noted here last month, some in-the-know folks believe the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act could receive 70 votes in the Senate if ever brought to a vote.  And, based on all of his vocal opposition to reform expressed last year (as noted in posts below), I think Senator Cotton is one big reason the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act seems unlikely to get a vote in the Senate in the near future.  But if Senator Cotton becomes CIA Director Cotton, maybe these political dynamic change for the better for those eager to see sentencing reform enacted in Congress.

Prior related posts about Senator Cotton's opposition to sentencing reform:

November 30, 2017 at 01:45 PM | Permalink


Since there is no significant reform in the reform bill does it matter?

/trees falling in forests and all that.

Posted by: Milk and Toast | Nov 30, 2017 2:01:29 PM

Isn't some reform better than no reform even if it isn't significant reform? The Fair Sentencing Act was not significant reform, but it was better than no reform, no?

Also, I think the corrections piece of the SRCA is quite significant.

Posted by: Doug B. | Nov 30, 2017 3:01:43 PM

I agree with Milk and Toast: much ado about nothing

Posted by: Ted | Nov 30, 2017 4:18:56 PM

Just a while back Cotton was totally against getting rid or easing up on the mandatories.

Therefore we shouldnt cotton to the slithering dude. I didnt say that did I.

Posted by: MidWestGuy | Dec 1, 2017 1:03:00 AM

Tom Cotton, wasn't he radicalized at Harvard Law School? Under no circumstances should he appointed to such a sensitive position, knowing all our war on terror secrets. All Harvard Law grads are pro-criminal, even famous conservatives like Justice Antonin Scalia.

Posted by: David Behar | Dec 1, 2017 11:35:38 AM

There was a TV commercial done in the 80s for some forgettable product, in which a forlorn guy stood in a snowdrift holding a sign that said "Miami or Bust." Some gorgeous blonde pulled up in a Mercedes, shot him a million-dollar smile and said "I'm going as far as Fort Lauderdale." The guy responded sadly, "Thanks anyway."

It reminds me of the criticism of current sentencing reform proposals. Perfection is the enemy of good enough. Unfairness will certainly remain even if the proposals are enacted precisely as written, but the people who have the liveliest interest in reform - correct federal inmates and defendants - would take great exception to Milk and Toast's dismissal of current reform as not mattering.

Posted by: Tom Root | Dec 3, 2017 7:59:29 AM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB