Yesterday, I wrote that the stench of politics had taken hold at the Justice Department when, at the last minute, it decided to deep-six a brief supporting the sound analysis of the Eleventh Circuit in a crack cocaine sentencing case and argue instead that the overall “intent” of two leniency-oriented statutes, the Fair Sentencing Act and the First Step Act, should displace their plain text. A unanimous SCOTUS made short work of DOJ’s lame appeal to duck the words Congress chose in favor of a more Oprah Winfrey-like approach. The only conceivable reason for the Department’s unprincipled, embarrassing and (fortunately) futile action was politics — specifically, that pro-drug and pro-criminal elements in the President’s political base simply wanted what they wanted. That DOJ at its highest levels would so easily be chased away from a sober approach to its legal obligations is alarming.
I’m happy to report that, today, we saw a different face.