The Brightest Spot in Holder’s Record

How the attorney general tried to make criminal justice less senselessly punitive by Jacob Sullum – Attorney General Eric Holder, who last week said he plans to step down as soon as Congress approves his replacement, sees criminal justice reform as the “signature achievement” of his five and half years in office. He is probably right about that, especially since his record on civil liberties and executive power is almost uniformly awful. Despite a late start, Holder has done more to highlight the harm inflicted by our excessively punitive criminal justice system than any of his predecessors. And he has done more than talk, pursuing policies that will imprison fewer people who do not belong behind bars, or at least free them sooner. Between 1996, when he was the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, and 1999, when he was deputy attorney general, Holder went from advocating stiffer drug...

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