Republicans show their true colors on crime bill

Topics: Rights
19 Feb 1995

From: "DG Ervan Darnell"

The new House majority has done better than expected so far by avoiding
"moral" issues like prayer in school and being, at least, not unreasonable
on economic matters. The crime bill unfortunately shows that they are still
hostile to civil liberties and believe in Washington micro-manipulation when
it is for one of their causes.

On the first count, the new crime bill allows any evidence seized in "good
faith" to be used no matter how bad the warrant. The final impact and
constitutionality of that remain to be seen, but it seems to be an open
invitation for the police to search and harass whoever they want, delta
making some "typos" on a copy of the warrant.

On the second count, the rhetoric is that they are returning control to the
states by giving them block grants and getting Washington out of the
business of telling Denver how many basketball courts they should have.
Nice theory, but that is not what is happening. If they really wanted to do
that, they would simply repeal last year's crime bill wholesale, lower taxes
that much, and let states really spend that returned money how they wanted.
Instead, it imposes its set of conditions in line with Republican thinking:
1) Several types of crime must have longer sentences (lots of details here)
2) "Truth in sentencing"
3) *Raises* spending (i.e. taxes) $280M, about 3% of the amount in question.

In other words, Clinton would only give states their own money back if they
invested in feel good pork barrel programs and the Republicans will only
give it to them if they keep the pot smokers in jail longer with it.