Constitutional Vanguard: David French Cites Weak Evidence to Show Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System
This is an epic one that I have been working on all week. It might be hard to digest in one sitting, but I nevertheless decided to put it all in one post/email because it is mostly a cohesive whole. Excerpt:
I can’t end this newsletter without commenting on French’s description of Alice Johnson:
I’ll be honest, I’ve got a bit of a personal connection to this conversation, a connection that I’d never had before. In 2019 my wife was blessed to work with Alice Johnson on her autobiography, After Life. Johnson, readers may remember, was a first-time drug offender who was sentenced to life in prison at the height of the war on drugs. Donald Trump granted her clemency (and later pardoned her) after Kim Kardashian pleaded her case in the White House. It was one of Trump’s best moments in office.
Alice stayed at our house for a short time while she finished her book, and our conversations helped teach me that there is a tremendous need for an interfaith, cross-partisan coalition of Americans who can see that crime imposes real costs on communities, while also understanding that vengeance and mass incarceration is toxic to the culture and soul of a nation.
The description of Alice Johnson as a “first-time drug offender”—with literally no other description of her crimes—is a rather remarkable whitewashing. I had never looked at Johnson’s case before, having swallowed the propaganda about her being a first-time offender who made “one mistake”—until I ran across a description of her case in a book I am reading titled Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost, by Michael Bender:
Johnson had spent more than two decades behind bars after running a multimillion-dollar cocaine operation with ties to a Colombian drug cartel.
Whoa. That’s a bit more than being a “first-time drug offender,” isn’t it?
Click through for a substantive romp through links provided by French to argue that there are racial disparities in the criminal justice system.