Jeff Sessions issued a memo to the United States Attorneys directing them to charge the highest provable offense possible. What this means is that the charging decision dictates the outcome under the regime of mandatory minimums. If this seems like deja vu all over again, that’s because it is. This was the protocol under Attorney General John Ashcroft.
In the interim, Attorney General Eric Holder issued a memo providing for greater exercise of prosecutorial discretion. As should be obvious, the problem with addressing the outcomes of “prison nation” and the draconian “War on Drugs” by memo is that the next guy gets to write a memo of his own.
In this case, Sessions, contrary to some suggestions, hasn’t quite done something new and horrible, but returned to the old and horrible days of Ashcroft.
“We are returning to the enforcement of the laws as passed by Congress, plain and simple,” Sessions said. “If you are a drug trafficker, we will not look the other way, we will not be willfully blind to your misconduct.”
He’s got a point. It’s a terrible point, but a point. Congress enacted draconian laws because voters love their drug warriors so much, and these remain the laws of the land. If Congress, in its “wisdom,” makes laws, who are prosecutors to ignore them?
While we may have been close to reform, even if exceptionally tepid reform, it didn’t happen despite bipartisan support (and anything the Koch Brothers like is obviously unacceptable to progressives). For all of President Obama’s claims to success, limited though they may be, it was by executive fiat, and thus susceptible to being undone by fiat as well.
Is this horrifying and exhausting? Is this much ado about nothing. Is this this what we get when the reform administration fails to accomplish anything and the drug warrior returns to power? This will be an open threat, if you want it. Please try to stay on topic and not reflect the deepest thoughts of the criminally insane.