The White House announced a new proposal today for policies that respond to the opioid addiction crisis, including possibly imposing the death penalty for those charged with dealing drugs. Jesselyn McCurdy, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union Washington Legislative Office, had the following reaction: “The opioid crisis is a serious problem that requires a serious solution. But the draconian law enforcement provisions included in this proposal are unconstitutional and absurd. “Drug trafficking is not an offense for which someone can receive the death penalty. The Supreme Court has repeatedly and consistently rejected the use of the death penalty in cases where there has been no murder by the convicted individual. “This approach is also disturbingly reminiscent of the war on drugs, which set back American drug policy decades, and codified harm to black and brown people — laws we have just begun to reverse. And like the war on drugs — with a focus on extreme punishments instead of the root causes of drug use and no provisions to address racial disparities — the White House’s proposal will almost certainly fail to solve the actual crisis facing the country. “The administration has, once again, put out a potentially disastrous and ill-thought-out policy proposal into our national discussion. The idea of executing people who sell drugs is ineffective, and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle understand that.” This statement can be viewed online here: https://www.aclu.org/news/aclu-response-white-house-drug-policy-proposal
Are there too many African-Americans on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s grand jury investigating the Trump administration for alleged ties to Russia during the presidential campaign? At least one Trump associate believes so. According to HuffPost, the unidentified supporter who recently testified to the grand jury claimed to a New York Post columnist that the jurors looked like they came from a “Black Lives Matter rally.” The source went on to tell Post columnist Richard Johnson “The grand jury room looks like a Bernie Sanders rally.” The HuffPost article is available here, and the NY Post column is available here.