Life is a Mystery

28 February 2008

Cracks in the Clinton record

I have been humbled for years by the work my sister and brother-in-law do with their law degrees. They are both blessed with wonderfully acute minds and the kind of careful seeing of the world that makes for a gifted lawyer. Yet instead of making the millions easily within their reach they spent years in New Orleans (moving to Cleveland just before Katrina hit) fighting for juvenile justice and those on death row. Ben is still working in Louisiana via a long commute, and he recently brought my attention to another aspect of Clinton’s record that I find disturbing, but unfortunately quite in-character.

The Clintons get elected under the promise of ending discrimination against gays and lesbians in the military, and immediately passed the ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ policy which was progressive only in comparison to the Salem witch trials, and mccarthyism.

When you add this, to Bill Clinton’s signing of the AEDPA (anti-terrorism, effective death penalty act) which effectively gutted the constitutional right to habeas corpus and the role of the federal courts in overseeing the implementation of the 14th amendment (designed to protect blacks in the south from over-racialized prosecutions), to his signature end of welfare, to his signing of the PLRA (prison litigation reform act) which effectively gutted the rights of individuals who are incarcerated from really challenging their conditions of confinement, the experience of Hillary’s tenure in the Whitehouse is a bit desultory for the poor, the downtrodden.

He pointed me to Doug Berman’s blog, where many more details can be found, especially about Sen. Clinton’s recent lonely (well, Bush and the R’s were on her side) opposition to retroactive reform of sentencing to eliminate the crack/cocaine disparity.

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Eric Celeste / Saint Paul, Minnesota / 651.323.2009 / efc@clst.org