The public outcry in Washington over Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ order last week directing federal prosecutors to charge defendants with the most serious crimes possible is growing.
This week, a bipartisan group of Senators, Rand Paul (R-KY), Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Jeff Merkley(D-OR) have reintroduced the Justice Safety Valve Act in response to Sessions’ order. Paul highlighted this effort on Twitter Tuesday evening, calling Congress to “come together in a bipartisan way.”
The bipartisan legislation gives federal judges the ability to impose sentences below the mandatory minimums when appropriate.
Representatives Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Bobby Scott (D-VA) have also introduced a companion bill in the House.
Senator Rand Paul was quick to criticize Sessions’ order last week. In an op-ed Paul noted that the directive would “accentuate the injustice in our criminal justice system. Mandatory minimum sentences disproportionally affect minorities and low-income communities, while doing little to keep us safe and turning mistakes into tragedies.”
In a speech last Friday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said, “We are returning to the enforcement of the laws as passed by Congress, plain and simple, if you are a drug trafficker, we will not look the other way, we will not be willfully blind to your misconduct.”
IVN published a piece on this issue earlier in the week highlighting the efforts of Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D).