April 8, 2015

Paul’s Criminal Justice Reform Gaffe

Rand Paul ran into trouble when he declared in his presidential announcement, “I see an America where criminal justice is applied equally and any law that disproportionately incarcerates people of color is repealed.” His campaign soon clarified, “Sen. Paul was referring to nonviolent crimes.” But does he mean this literally? Surely not. Just because blacks, for example, or disproportionately convicted of murder or theft, doesn’t mean the law is the problem. It could simply mean blacks disproportionately commit those crimes. National Review’s Patrick Brennan mused, “Now, maybe Paul just meant he wants to get rid of all laws that land people of color in prison at rates higher than the rate at which they commit the crime in question (his campaign didn’t say this, though). The problem with this is that it’s quite hard to say which laws those are, so we can’t just promise to repeal whichever ones qualify.” Indeed, while we agree with Paul that criminal justice needs reforming and too few conservatives are even willing to discuss it, wholesale repeal of laws isn’t a responsible approach. More…

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