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December 12, 2021

Two new NPR pieces spotlight frustrations with Biden Administration among criminal justice reform advocates

This weekend has brought these two versions of NPR coverage of a topic familiar to readers of this  blog, namely the failure to see much tangible criminal justice reform action from the Biden Administration so far:

"Criminal justice advocates are pressing the Biden administration for more action"

"Activists wanted Biden to revamp the justice system. Many say they're still waiting"

Here are excerpts from the second piece:

People working to overhaul the criminal justice system say they're frustrated with the Biden administration after they've waited nearly a year for the White House to take major steps on clemency and sentencing reform. "I think we're at a point where we're saying, mere lip service isn't enough," said Sakira Cook, senior director of the justice reform program at the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. "We want to see some concrete action."

For them, concrete action could include granting clemency to the few thousand people who were released to home confinement by the Trump administration at the start of the pandemic. President Biden could ensure those people remain free with the stroke of a pen. But he hasn't done that yet, despite months of pressure....

Michael Gwin, a White House spokesman, told NPR in a written statement that the president has taken steps to reform the system "since his first day in office." "This includes restoring the Department of Justice's Office for Access to Justice, implementing new restrictions on chokeholds and no-knock warrants for federal law enforcement, ending contracts with private detention facilities, and expanding access to re-entry services for formerly incarcerated individuals," Gwin said.

The advocates say they're happy to give credit where it's due.  They praised the Justice Department for rescinding a Trump-era memo that directed prosecutors to pursue the most serious charges they could for any crime. And they're happy the DOJ has launched four big civil rights investigations of police departments.

But they've also taken note of this fact: the federal prison population has increased by some 5,000 people during Biden's tenure, according to Nazgol Ghandnoosh, a researcher at the Sentencing Project....  While homicides and shootings have increased in many parts of the country, the vast majority of those crimes are handled by state and local authorities, not the federal government.  Most people in federal prison are there for breaking drug or immigration laws, Ghandnoosh said.

Ghandnoosh had expected to see more than "small tinkering" by the new team in Washington. "We would expect to hear from the attorney general and the president very vocal and unequivocal support for federal sentencing reform that's being considered right now and that could help to give those initiatives an important boost," she added.

Another criticism is about personnel.  The White House hasn't taken any action to fill vacancies on the Sentencing Commission, which sets federal sentencing guidelines for many crimes.  "In the past, some of the best reforms [that] have been achieved in the last 10 years have been at the Sentencing Commission and they haven't even nominated people to fill this vacant body," said Ring of FAMM.

Meanwhile, key allies of the White House, including Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill., are going public with their demand that the Justice Department fire the head of the federal prison system.  They say the Federal Bureau of Prisons mismanaged the pandemic and that there are several other serious problems in the system.

Democrats control both chambers of Congress with small majorities.  But the administration hasn't used the bully pulpit to promote the EQUAL Act, a bill that would equalize the penalties for crack and powder cocaine.  Those laws have punished Black people more harshly than white people for decades for essentially the same crime.

December 12, 2021 at 04:10 PM | Permalink


1. Home confinement

If I understand things correctly, the AG's memo on this subject remains operational and Garland's DOJ is still adhering to it. BOP's website states that nearly 8,000 inmates continue to enjoy the benefit (in a manner of speaking) of home confinement.


So, it's not like Biden revoked that benefit or anything. He's still providing it. The only complaint here seems to be that now the inmates should also get clemency. OK, I understand that desire, and I'm not unsympathetic to it.

I also note that CARES Act home confinement was going on for the last 8+ months of TP's term. He too, could have granted the clemency being requested at any point during that time. But he didn't, I believe? And it's not like he was averse to deploying clemency on behalf of his corrupt pals. So he failed miserably on that score. No surprise either I think. Also, did the advocates even bother to ask TP about it during all that time? Or do we always inhabit the land where magically only Ds have agency?

Moreover, it appears TP's OLC released an opinion with the fairly clear (at least to me) purpose of limiting the scope of the home confinement program. So instead of taking steps to enhance the program, TP thought it was good policy to weaken it. And the OLC memo was released on 1/15/21. I can't believe that was a coincidence—because again, the program had been in effect for months by then, so why wait so long to release a short <15-page memo?—but rather an obvious attempt to undermine Biden right before he took office.


And yes, Biden hasn't—as of this moment—granted clemency to anyone on home confinement yet. But it's not like he's ruled out the possibility either. Far from that being the case, it's clear from both his words and deeds that it's on his agenda. And he has taken concrete steps to make it happen. Already, since 3 months ago, "[t]he Biden administration’s Department of Justice has started sending out applications to inmates at home under the CARES Act for consideration of a presidential clemency."


One of the quoted advocates says that "President Biden has been handed an easy political gift" if he carries out this kind of clemency. Maybe so or maybe not. I'm pretty sure most any clemency brings some political downsides. And in any case, Biden and his folks would be in the best position to make that calculation.

But, I don't understand why Biden would be in any rush to do clemency while the home confinement program remains in effect. Not only is it still active, but also given the state of the pandemic, it'll probably continue on for some time yet. Yes, I know home confinement is no picnic—you have to undergo monitoring and check-ins etc.—but it's still an upgrade to some extent that remains in place for now. So I don't see the urgency on clemency in the immediate term. Biden doesn't want to expose himself to the potential negative political consequences of clemency any sooner than he has to. That's just common sense.

2. Current increase in federal prison population

That one I confess I just don't get. The population is always fluctuating up and down for any number of potential reasons. Presumably it will go down at some later point too. Will the advocates be rushing to celebrate Biden when that happens, even if he actually takes no credit for the result? Unless something's changed specifically in either the underlying law or a DOJ policy, then I'm not sure why Biden—or anyone else for that matter—needs to take action. And the article notes that Biden again has taken the obvious concrete steps by rescinding a very problematic holdover policy from TP.

If it's just the same old laws on the books, but more people are simply committing the relevant crimes, it's a function of normal U.S. population increases, more people are trying to cross the border, or the numbers were particularly reduced last year because of pandemic effects, then it all seems quite predictable to me. In contrast, if there's a particularly unjust aspect of a particular law that's fueling the rise, then sure, that might be worth looking into. But (1) I don't see where that's mentioned in the article excerpt and (2) if it's long been part of the underlying law, then why would it only be causing a problem now?

3. Sentencing Commission

Bill Otis pointed out, correctly I believe, that USSC appointments aren't subject to the filibuster. That actually hurts Rs though. If I understand things right, at least 4 of the vacancies opened up during TP's term. 2 of them set around for 2 years at least, and the other 2 were pretty much present for TP's entire term, i.e., 4 years. And, given the noted lack of filibuster, plus the fact that TP had a hospitable and cooperative Senate for the duration, it's completely on him and Senate Rs for dropping the ball into the basement and through the foundation in terms of not even nominating anyone, let alone confirming them. Again, were the advocates saying much during this time, or is agency somehow subject to a D monopoly?

OK, let's get to Biden now. So the fact that he even has to deal with 4 of these vacancies is Rs' fault again. And he still has more than 3/4 left on his term, so he's got plenty of time to improve on TP—and there's no reason to think he won't. If nothing else, he's not doing any worse than TP was at this point. (The bar for that is subterranean, I know.)

The thing is, filibuster or no, the confirmation process does consume scarce and finite floor time. So this very much isn't a walk-and-chew-gum type of situation. But everyone knows there's existing legislation and even other pending confirmations already in the Senate pipeline. So in that respect, I do think stuff for the USSC is going to have to wait in line a little, because those current things are—let's face it—also important and a bit higher priority. It's not as though Biden is blowing off the USSC stuff for no reason. There is a very real Senate bottleneck that has to be reckoned with. And even without a filibuster, especially when Ds only have a tenuous majority, 50 R Senators can do plenty to drag things out and make things annoying. If they choose to do that, presumably it's their fault, right?

4. Bully pulpit for EQUAL Act

I can't even for this one. It's pure One Weird Trick territory for people who are clueless on how politics actually works. We heard the same nonsense when Obama was in office—"Why doesn't he just use the bully pulpit? That's what LBJ did!" As if Obama knew about this incredibly potent tool, but just arbitrarily refused to deploy it out of, I dunno, pure spite? Give me a break. Also those same people didn't study up on history much or they'd recall that LBJ had overwhelming Congressional majorities at his disposal.

Posted by: kotodama | Dec 13, 2021 1:08:05 PM

On #3, I think it's also important to note that TP and his gang absolutely were blowing it off. They didn't have the excuse of being preoccupied with any useful legislation (tax cuts for the rich sure don't count) or even other confirmations.

Posted by: kotodama | Dec 13, 2021 1:24:08 PM

I am starting to wonder, kotodama, if your pen name is some kind of clever/strange anagram for Jen Psaki, though you seem even better at spinning Prez Biden's underwhelming CJ reform record so far. But if your hallmark is "he's not doing any worse than TP," then I suppose it will not remain too hard to keep giving Prez Biden way more than the benefit of the doubt.

Posted by: Doug B. | Dec 13, 2021 2:25:53 PM

I sure wouldn't mind being on the WH payroll, but alas, that has yet to happen. They also keep rejecting the invoices I send. So for now, I can assure you I'm doing this entirely pro bono (pro Biden?).

Posted by: kotodama | Dec 13, 2021 2:37:16 PM

Is "Doug B" a pen name too for someone selectively anti-Biden / grade Trump on a curve?

A criminal justice blog without baggage might go another way.

Anyway, Bill Otis has a Wiki page. Not only was Otis nominated to the commission, but "Otis’ nomination lapsed without action by the Senate."

Darn Republicans.

Posted by: Joe | Dec 13, 2021 3:59:13 PM

Joe --

I'm in good company. I was nominated as part of a slate with three others (Judges Pryor, Restrepo, and Hudson) and none of us got to the Senate floor.

The basic reason no one's in a rush to name USSC nominees is that, thanks largely to Booker and Kimbrough, the Commission has become, if not a bystander, exactly, something pretty close to it. When your guidelines can be ignored at will, and are half the time, then it's still a neat job, but it's hard to say it's real important to the operation of the criminal justice system. See also my article from several years ago, "The Slow, Sad Swoon of the Sentencing Suggestions," https://fedsoc-cms-public.s3.amazonaws.com/update/pdf/1IzxpHMqv9UKPPDE9p7H1Z5fclsJq9kK733I8dfl.pdf

The Commission still has potential for important work, if it would propose to Congress the re-establishing of guidelines with teeth, closely similar to what Congress wanted in adopting the SRA or 1984. See Justice Stevens' dissent from the remedial portion of Booker. But that is not going to happen, at least for the next three years.

The Commission's staff is talented and professional, and good for them. But that's about as good as it's going to get for now. Just nominating partisan cheerleaders for USSC seats is not what this town, or the country, needs.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Dec 13, 2021 5:42:36 PM

kotodama --

"I sure wouldn't mind being on the WH payroll..."

The pay is lousy, the hours are worse, and it's really bad for your blood pressure even if the press isn't out to get you. The White House mess is excellent, and they gave me a good parking space, but it's a young man's game.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Dec 13, 2021 5:51:58 PM

Hey Joe, when Biden gives me a reason to be "pro Biden," I will be sure to give credit where credit it due. And, whether graded on a curve or some other metric, Prez Trump managed to help get the FIRST STEP Act done. Sadly, neither Prez Biden nor his AG is doing much to help get that important law well implemented. And, as you know, my bio is linked in the left sidebar.

As for baggage, I am not sure what you mean to reference, but I am sure I have plenty. It is amazing how many suitcases one assembles through the years, and I have been travelling on our blue marble even longer than the two decades I have been playing with this little website.

Posted by: Doug B. | Dec 13, 2021 6:08:15 PM

Doug --

I suspect the reason President Biden isn't pushing CJ "reform" is that, as I noted here, https://www.crimeandconsequences.blog/?p=5290, its basics are distinctly unpopular. His polls are already tanking what with inflation, the surge in murder, and now a revival of COVID. If his advisers are awake, they're telling him that he doesn't need one more anchor in the balloon

Posted by: Bill Otis | Dec 13, 2021 6:19:58 PM

Well - this is the way I see it. I no longer have a partisan attachment - I'm just a political agnostic.

For me, only the data speaks about the level of compassion and mercy. The data I look at is the number of people living behind bars. Eric Holder talked about Obama granting over 10,000 petitions for clemency.
Obama granted 1,927 clemency petitions and denied over 20,000. Obama left over 13,000 petitions for clemency for the Trump administration. During the first five years of Obama's administration the BOP population increased by about 19,000.

During the Trump administration, the BOP population decreased by over 35,000 people. He lobbied Congress for the First Step Act which passed and gave many an opportunity to have their sentences reduced.

Since Biden's inauguration the BOP population has increased by over 5,000 individuals.

I don't know why or how this happened - I just think that data matters. If it doesn't we should not spend time and money collecting it, we should just plow through partisan talking points.

As always, I wouldn't read this blog if I hadn't benefitted from it in a most profound way. I appreciate every opinion and point of view and am grateful for civil dialogue. It is rare and valuable.

Posted by: beth curtis | Dec 13, 2021 7:46:15 PM

I listed various things he did, but hey keep on grading on a curve if you like.

I'm sorry I keep on confusing you.

Posted by: Joe | Dec 13, 2021 8:29:39 PM

Bill, I think you (and perhaps the Biden folks) have the politics wrong. Equalizing crack/powder sentencing, prohibiting acquitted conduct sentencing, putting good people on the USSC, granting clemency to the many hundreds similar to Alice Marie Johnson, pushing for more complete and effective implementation of the FIRST STEP Act are just a few CJ reform items that have bipartisan support in Congress and nationwide. Doing little, especially in light of all he promised, is more of an anchor.

The EQUAL Act passed 361-66 in the House with Louie Gohmert actively supporting the bill on the House floor. It would be great politics if Prez Biden worked with Rep Gohment in a public display to ask why Senator Grassley would not help that bill move forward in the Senate. But I sense Prez Biden's heart has never really been into CJ reform, so it is likely his core policy commitments, not a sound read on the politics, accounting for his lack of major action.

Posted by: Doug B. | Dec 13, 2021 9:12:01 PM

"Prez Trump managed to help get the FIRST STEP Act done."

I've been over this before, so I won't pulverize a dead horse, but as usual, we have that compulsion to give TP disproportionate credit for any good thing that happens. The sum total of his contribution was signing a bill that had overwhelming bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress. Not only that, but obviously it was also quite popular with the general public. So signing it was the quintessential no-brainer. It's what any other president not in a coma would have done. But TP being TP, even no-brainers pose a challenge for him. The only thing out of the ordinary he did was initially refuse to sign it. Why that's anything notable—in a good way—or worthy of praise is beyond me. And of course, TP was just a bystander to actually devising and drafting the bill in the first place. He just showed up at the very end—after much protest—to sign it.

"complete and effective implementation of the FIRST STEP Act"

Again, TP and his buddies had 2+ years to do that, a lot of which was solely in the purview of the executive too. So it really shows you his passion (or lack thereof) for CJ reform.

OK, I think at this point not a single trace of the deceased equine remains.

"It would be great politics if Prez Biden worked with Rep Gohment in a public display to ask why Senator Grassley would not help that bill move forward in the Senate."

With this and all the other stuff you enumerated that requires actual legislation, it's pure Green Lanterism. See my #4 above re: bully pulpit. It just boggles the mind that I have to explain this to a law prof of all people. Let me break it down though. You have two options: (1) break a particular filibuster or (2) nuke the filibuster altogether. For (1), who are the >= 10 R Senators? For (2), who can bend Sinemachin to their will through, I dunno, take your pick, devastating kompromat? I hate to rain on your parade, but there is no option (3) called "public display by Prez with a rando House member to compel a recalcitrant Senator over whom no actual leverage exists"—and Grassley is still just 1 Senator anyway, so where do the remaining 9 come from?

@beth curtis

Take a gander at my #3 above.

Also: "I don't know why or how this happened - I just think that data matters."

Um, do you notice a slight contradiction there? If you sincerely "think that data matters" then perhaps it might behoove you to actually figure out "why or how this happened."

Posted by: kotodama | Dec 13, 2021 10:07:41 PM

Doug --

Crime has indeed become an issue again, but not in the way you describe. The historic murder explosion for two full years now, a spreading epidemic of smash and grab robberies, and crime galore like the Waukesha massacre committed by repeat, violent felons who were out on the street when any sane system would not have allowed it -- those things dwarf anything else going on in public concern about criminal justice-related issues.

The proposals you mention uniformly favor the criminal (what a surprise!). That slant has great popularity with Soros spin-offs and on campus -- yours, mine and almost all others -- but campus is not the electorate. Neither is FAMM, the NACDL, or Antifa. Because the now-dominant issues of murder, et al. can no longer be swept under the rug, even by CNN, PBS, the NYT, etc., the subsidiary issues of allowing yet more of these offenders out to do yet more damage now face headwinds they didn't just 18 months ago.

That said, I expect Biden to nominate some Commissioners, just because some of his Congressional and interest group allies will demand it and it's a relatively low cost move. There may also be some clemencies, but by far most of them will be AFTER the mid-term elections, a la' Clinton and Obama (and Trump to an extent), because as all those Presidents (and this one) know -- and contrary to your view -- clemency for criminals is not a popular move, and that's even in times of slowing violent crime.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Dec 13, 2021 10:30:44 PM

kotadoma, there is so much factually wrong with your horse beating, it is hard to know where to start and impossible to cover it all here. On the First Step Act, though I never want to give Prez Trump too much credit for congressional action that got started years before, Trump held a prison reform summit at the White House to help get the bill through the (Republican controlled) House in early 2018. Thereafter, Trump declared he would only support a bigger version of the bill in the (Republican controlled) Senate that added sentencing reforms. If he had expressed any opposition, no version would have passed; instead, he often expressed support and pushed for the bigger version of the bill. You can ignore these facts, but facts are facts, and those are the First Step facts.

Meanwhile, a filibuster is not the barrier to the EQUAL Act getting passed. The Senate version of the bill already has five GOP co-sponsors and likely would get at least 20 GOP votes on the floor and likely many more (75% of House GOP members voted for the bill). The reason Grassley matters is he is the senior GOP member of the Senate Judiciary Committee who is apparently gumming up the works. Perhaps by working with the 140+ GOP reps that voted for the EQUAL Act --- which includes three Iowa GOP Representatives --- Prez Biden can push Grassley to allow democracy to function. Again, it seems, you do not know the facts that matter here. You are right there there are limits to what Biden alone can do, but there is depressingly little indication that he is trying to do anything much here or elsewhere.

Posted by: Doug B. | Dec 13, 2021 10:58:37 PM

Other than judges, social services and spending essential for those in the criminal justice system, investigations of police departments, and other stuff.

You know nothing anywhere.

Not sure how Biden can "push" Grassley, if the guy is holding things up. Biden has voiced his support. What magical powers does he have to convince someone older than him? Again, lots of other things to worry about too, given Biden unlike Trump cares about credible government.

Anyway, if it has so much support, it just might be he figures it will pass and meanwhile he will push various other things that are more touch and go and some immediate stuff here and abroad.

I figure with the narrow view of this blog (even various things that help people in the criminal justice system are of limited concern) all of that other stuff is basically ignored. But, in month eleven, that is an example of picking and choosing the immediate concerns.

The Trump details doesn't help much especially since k in the past argued Kush ner was the driving force anyway. It's not that the Administration as a whole didn't do anything. The claim is basically Trump really was bad here.

And, yes, you grade him on a curve there while playing tough grader on Obama and Biden.

Posted by: Joe | Dec 13, 2021 11:33:42 PM

I don't think I was ignoring those facts. Although again, it hardly seems like a huge point in the Rs' favor that they had to go back and forth on a reform package that was widely popular and Ds all supported unwaveringly from Day 1. It's like Joe said about grading on a curve. If Ds consistently do the right thing, nobody seems to even notice, but if Rs happen to blunder into right thing 1 out of 100 times, all of sudden a national holiday must be declared in their honor.

On the EQUAL Act, who are the other 5 mystery R Senators to invoke cloture? You say there might also be another 10, but even if that's right, it hardly matters without cloture. I've seen plenty of times where cloture was narrowly invoked and then the final vote was unanimous or close to it. That's the whole point of the filibuster right? When it's in effect, folks can hide behind it, but once it's gone, they have zero excuse not to vote in favor.

Then we get to Grassley. With him, it really boils down to this. Grassley, who's a grown adult—and then some, considering he graduated HS a few years ahead of Prometheus—with a little thing I like to call "free will," does bad deed X. Here, X is, as you note, "gumming up the works" on the Judiciary Committee. As I see it, if Grassley—or any other R—does bad thing X, then Grassley alone is to blame for the negative consequences of X; likewise Grassley has the responsibility to stop doing X. The way you seem to see it is quite different. Apparently, if, e.g., Grassley does bad thing X, then it's actually *Biden's* fault because Biden *didn't prevent* Grassley from doing X. Moreover, *Biden's* to blame because he didn't use mechanism Y to stop Grassley. But mechanism Y is always some kind of magical pixie dust, not an actual thing that exists. If I'm being charitable, your logic there is quite bizarre and incomprehensible.

Posted by: kotodama | Dec 13, 2021 11:55:54 PM

Joe and kotodama, I encourage you to get your stories straight. Is the claim from Joe now that the Trump Administration deserves credit for the FIRST STEP Act, but Trump himself doesn't? Is it that criminal justice reform was so "widely popular," that Obama decided to let Hilary get the credit; but then Trump won and, as the leader of the GOP, he somehow blundered into getting a GOP-controlled Congress passing in the Senate an even bigger version of the bill? I understand Trump rage makes you eager to ignore inconvenient facts, but the fact is Trump helped to get major federal criminal justice reform passed, reform more major than anything done in a recent D Administration despite those administrations having a D-controlled Congress to work with some of the time.

As for Grassley, I agree Prez Biden has no magical powers to get him to embrace the EQUAL Act. But Grassley is a co-sponsor on lots of other criminal justice reform bills, and Prez Biden could express support for combining EQUAL with other Grassley-led efforts. A full 38 GOP Senators voted for the much bigger FIRST STEP Act (though some surely did under cover of Trump's support, which you discount). I do not think it hard to think half of those folks would be supportive of EQUAL, especially since it got 75% GOP support in the House.

And, of course, there are lots of other ways Biden and his Justice Department could try to advance crack/powder equality reforms. For example, AG Garland could issue a memo saying that, at least in most cases, USAs ought to charge all cocaine offenses (including crack offenses) as cocaine offenses with only the cocaine MMs applicable. Of course, Biden's campaign materials said, "Biden supports an end to mandatory minimums. As president, he will work for the passage of legislation to repeal mandatory minimums at the federal level." To honor that promise, I hope the Biden team has a broader legislative proposal in the works; expecting he would do more to address still-extreme crack mandatory minimums (after it got overwheming GOP support in the House) does not seem like a big ask.

There are many other possibilities, but this is clearly not a current priority or area for creative work by the Biden team while other matters are of bigger concern to them. That's fine, they get to pick their priorities. But I get to criticize their choices, and you get to criticize my criticism apparently because you think he is doing enough.

Posted by: Doug B. | Dec 14, 2021 9:59:48 AM

Yet again we have trollish comment that leads with language that reeks of disdain instead of addressing the comments (which after that is done, are selectively addressed).

I'm tired of it all. I'm done for the time being again. Trump spin while he was in office was too much enabling for me. And, more of this stuff [a cruder word is appropriate] is too much for me now.

The blog provides some useful content, but the blogger feels a need to troll & grade people on curves. And, not look at the whole picture. I find this rather counterproductive to the wider goal, unless it is again, to troll, grade people on a curve etc.

But, I guess personal blogs have that function too, as a way to "have fun" or something. Whatever.

Like in the death penalty thread back some time ago, this is an example of the lack of a fair reading that would result in a different response with a smidgen of extra thought:

"The Trump details doesn't help much especially since k in the past argued Kushner was the driving force anyway. It's not that the Administration as a whole didn't do anything. The claim is basically Trump really was bad here."

The "claim" and "k in the past arguing" points to what I was doing -- I was saying that the response to kotodama basically talks past what was being said. Kotodama in the past talked about Kushner etc.

I don't have a 'story' here. I am not just filled with 'Trump rage' so that I ignore facts. I'm not sure what your excuse is. Biden rage? IDK. With Obama, you latched on to some speech or speeches he gave on reform (among a whole lot of stuff as he ran for POTUS), and you acted like some jilted lover on the whole thing.

Anyway, happy holidays and bye for now.

Posted by: Joe | Dec 14, 2021 11:01:30 AM

Joe, if so inclined, I would be interested to hear what you think is the "wider goal"? One goal I have here is to publicly examine and assess how politicians (and others) speak and act in the sentencing space (particularly the federal sentencing space). Whatever else recent Presidents have done in other spaces, compared to their stated rhetoric and reasonable expectations, Obama and now Biden have been for me relative disappointments in the sentencing space and Trump provide to be a relative surprise. You may have a much different view of these folks and others on sentencing topics or think it wrong to focus on sentencing topics. Great, as I generally see virtue in hearing different views expressed to advance knowledge and understanding of the sentencing topics that are the focal point of this blog.

I have no "disdain" for any commentators here, indeed I have a long history of keeping this platform open for an array of folks whom others have asked me to ban for various reasons. As I see it, open and sometimes critical and sometimes sharp discourse is essential to a free and forward-looking society. But the right to walk away from that discourse at any time can often be a sound decision if you do not consider it of value to you. I hope you have a good holiday season without any rage for anyone.

Posted by: Doug B. | Dec 14, 2021 11:21:48 AM

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