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Thomas Gallatin / June 17, 2020

Biden’s Leading Role in Creating Today’s Criminal Justice

He’s trying to hide his push for both the 1994 Crime Bill and the 1986 Anti-Drug Abuse Act.

One of the more understandable gripes, convoluted as it is, coming from the Black Lives Matter protests currently roiling the nation is a demand for criminal-justice reform. While BLM’s fallacious assertion is that America’s entire justice system has been so corrupted by “systemic racism” that the only way forward is to eradicate it and “re-conceive” it from the ground up, the argument that it could use some reform is not entirely flawed. Since no system is ever perfect, nor is society ever so static so as to have no need of reforming its institutions, it would be a mistake to too eagerly dismiss or reject entirely the loud complaints made by American citizens, no matter how suspect their motivations.

Contrary to the popular “social justice” narrative, the U.S. has a long history of wrestling with and enacting various reform efforts (for better or worse) to the justice system.

One of the more comprehensive and impactful legislative changes to the American judicial system was the 1994 Crime Bill, which then-Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) played a “central role” in crafting and passing. This landmark legislation has increasingly drawn the ire not just of BLM and its fellow travelers but also of President Donald Trump.

Among the biggest criticisms of the 1994 Crime Bill is that it led to a massive increase in the incarceration rate of Americans — particularly black Americans. As a 2019 Brennen Center Report notes, “Federal dollars have helped buttress mass incarceration for years, most notoriously through the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.”

However, racial disparities in the incarceration rate were already increasing prior to the 1994 legislation … thanks in large part to another bill that Biden pushed through — the 1986 Anti-Drug Abuse Act. According to a GOP fact sheet, “These guidelines produced racial disparities in sentencing, particularly the ‘100-to-one sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine offenses’ established by the 1986 law. In addition to strengthening the mandatory minimum sentencing policies, the legislation also shifted the federal supervised release program ‘from a rehabilitative focus to a punitive one.’”

But it’s not just the GOP that recognizes the significant role Biden played in getting these bills passed, even as he’s attempting to distance himself from any real culpability. Several major Leftmedia outlets have written about Biden’s central role in the 1994 Crime Bill. In fact, The New York Times referred to it as “the Biden Crime Bill.” Even the Democrat president who signed the legislation into law, Bill Clinton, has blamed Biden specifically for the bill’s sentencing provisions.

Of course, there’s always the old commonsense wisdom that if you don’t do the crime, you won’t do the time. And it’s not that these crime bills made what once was considered a legal activity an illegal one (with the one exception being the so-called “assault weapons” ban). Instead, it was the increase of penalties and mandatory sentencing that arguably helped to create today’s situation.

Just remember, though: If you don’t vote for Biden, he says, “You ain’t black.”

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