Tuesday, August 3, 2010
expressed very specific and serious sounding concerns about sentencing disparities in crack/powder cocaine law. For that reason, some had hope that he would employ the pardon power as John F. Kennedy. However, 560 days into the term, the Obama Justice Department has actually not shown a single sign that it is even aware that the pardon power is in the Constitution. Today, Obama has agreed with Congress' efforts to address the problem, by signing the Fair Sentencing Act - which, the careful observer will note, still allows for unfair sentencing, but just not as much! The disparity has simply been reduced from 100 to 1 to 18 to 1. The edges could could certainly be smoothed out through systematic use of the clemency, but that might be more hope and change than possible.