ACLU and The Leadership Conference Praise Senate Passage of FIRST STEP Act

JailThe Senate has passed a revised version of the FIRST STEP Act by a margin of 87-12. It is expected to pass quickly in the House of Representatives in the coming days.

Jesselyn McCurdy, deputy director of the Washington Legislative Office at the American Civil Liberties Union, had the following reaction:

“The FIRST STEP Act is by no means perfect. But we are in the midst of a mass incarceration crisis, and the time to act is now.”

“We applaud the bipartisan group of senators who were willing to listen to advocates and include important sentencing reforms that will grant thousands of currently incarcerated people a second chance.”

“People’s lives are at stake. We’re delighted to see common sense prevail and the FIRST STEP Act move closer to the finish line.”

Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, had the following response:

“The Senate’s bipartisan vote to pass the FIRST STEP Act is an important, but modest step forward for justice and human dignity. But it is not the end of our fight. This bipartisan bill offers some important improvements to the current federal system, but it falls short of providing the meaningful change that is required, as we explained in a letter to the Senate. More work will be needed as we push for transformational change that will end mass incarceration in America.”

“We applaud our coalition members for their tireless work to ensure that the final bill included the vital sentencing provisions that improved the bill, Senators Durbin, Booker, Harris, Lee, and Grassley for their leadership, and the many formerly incarcerated allies and advocates who remind us that this work has real-world impact.”

More information about the ACLU’s position on the FIRST STEP Act can be found here:
https://www.aclu.org/blog/smart-justice/mass-incarceration/how-first-step-act-moves-criminal-justice-reform-forward

Podcast: Could anti-Trump fervor help Democrats win the Senate?

While most observers are paying attention to the possibility that Democrats can win back the House this November, they “definitely have a chance to win the Senate,” according to election analyst Nathan Gonzalez. In this edition of the CQ on Congress podcast from Roll Call, Gonzales shows where Democrats could pick up Senate seats, as well as which races they’re likely to lose.

Former AL Supreme Court Justice and GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore accused of sexual encounter with teen girl

By BibleWizard – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEsVodF9sHE, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=62292444

Roy Moore, the Republican candidate for US Senate in Alabama and twice-removed chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, has been accused of having a sexual encounter with a teenage girl when he was 32 and she was 14. The Washington Post reports that Leigh Corfman says the then-assistant district attorney took her to his home, gave her alcohol, and had her touch him inappropriately. The Post further reports:

Aside from Corfman, three other women interviewed by The Washington Post in recent weeks say Moore pursued them when they were between the ages of 16 and 18 and he was in his early 30s, episodes they say they found flattering at the time, but troubling as they got older. None of the women say that Moore forced them into any sort of relationship or sexual contact.

The Post says the Moore campaign has denied the allegations. AL.com has Moore’s full statement on the accusations. Moore was twice removed from his position as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. The first removal happened in 2003 after he defied an order from the US Supreme Court to remove a granite sculpture of the Ten Commandments from the Alabama Supreme Court building. The second happened in 2012, when Moore was removed from office for again refusing to follow a judicial order when he instructed probate judges in Alabama not to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.