No one argues that a federal prosecutor's role is easy. And, in many ways, the revolution in prosecution requires them to make even more subtle and difficult judgments than they do already. But if the nation is to end mass incarceration, with a criminal justice system suited to that goal, we must collectively embrace the revolution in prosecution.
This move could result in the release of thousands of low-level federal inmates caught up in the drug war. For a president who, hitherto, had the most conservative pardon record in recent history (e.g. in Obama's first term, he pardoned 1 in 50 applicants, while Ronald Reagan pardoned 1 in 3), such a shift is noteworthy.
California may get one step closer to eliminating the racist laws that unfairly target low-income communities of color for incarceration. On Thursday, the California State Assembly will vote on a bill that would eliminate groundless disparities in punishment for possession of crack cocaine and powder cocaine for sale.
Liberals who foolishly thought they'd won on August 8, 1974, have spent most of the last 40 years on the defensive, failed by stubborn hubris as Vietnam became Iraq, as B-52s became drones, as segregation became the mass incarceration of young American blacks, as J. Edgar Hoover's FBI became the NSA of Dick Cheney... and Barack Obama.