Warren: Justice System Is Racist 'Front to Back'
Her rhetorical assault is surely meant to stir up some press for her 2020 presidential run.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Cherokee) laid a heavy accusation on our entire criminal justice system recently at an event in Louisiana, throwing the “racist” label around, much to the delight of her supporters.
“The hard truth about our criminal justice system: It’s racist,” Warren told a crowd at Dillard University in New Orleans. “I mean all the way. I mean front to back. This is not just sentencing reform we’re talking about here. We’re talking about the front end on what you declare to be illegal, on how you enforce it, on who gets arrested.”
In her slanderous attack, Warren would have Americans believe that from the time one is approached by a cop all the way through to the moment one is sentenced and incarcerated, one is in a racist system that targets minorities. For the system to be racist, then by extension wouldn’t most if not all the people who serve it be racist too? Warren seems to ignore the 27% of the nation’s police officers who are minorities, as well as the 400 black prosecutors, the 383 minority federal judges, and the previous two U.S. attorneys general.
Warren’s rhetorical assault is surely meant to stir up some press for her 2020 presidential run. But more broadly speaking, the race card is a key part of the leftist toolkit, and it has been used to rail on the justice system for years.
It can’t be denied that the criminal justice system needs reform, as we have argued on these pages. There is something wrong when America, with 4% of the world’s population, has 25% of the world’s prisoners. Two-thirds of the 650,000 people who leave prison every year will be back in jail within three years. This is a failure with sentencing and giving inmates the tools they need to turn their lives around. It’s not racism.
Reforms are already taking place on the state level that have improved the situation in certain areas. President Donald Trump proposed following that example at the federal level and threw his support behind the First Step Act, a House bill with tremendous bipartisan support.
The bill, which addresses recidivism and allowing prisoners to build “good time” credit, had bipartisan support in the House but was stymied in the Senate.
The Left has drawn the conclusion that the criminal justice system is racist because of the disparity between the total black population versus the black prison population. Blacks make up 13% of the total population but 30% of the state prison population. It can be said that black incarceration rates for drug offenses are significantly higher, but you can’t blame it all on the drug war. In 2014, the share of the prison population in jail for only drug offenses was 16%.
One of the biggest culprits in the mushrooming prison population may be the plea-bargaining system. Plea bargains are a popular tool with prosecutors because it allows them the power to send someone to jail without having to deal much with judges. It’s a fast-moving, murky process that has likely scooped up some people who would otherwise be serving less time in jail, or perhaps no time at all.
Criminal justice reformers would also like to do away with mandatory-minimum sentencing and three-strikes laws that take the sentencing out of the hands of judges and create a sort of automatic sentencing structure that does not consider details of specific cases.
Warren makes her accusations, unfounded though they may be, because racism is the red meat of her campaign. In fact, her phony claims of Native American ancestry boosted her career for decades. You can be sure that she, along with other Democrat senators — especially those with plans in 2020 — will pick apart any prison reform proposed by Trump and Republicans. They won’t be specific about what they don’t like about the proposals. They’ll just jump around and yell “racism.” If the GOP were to get even some credit for prison reform, then it’s one less thing the Left can use to attack them.