Small Blessings: Tom Cotton Isn’t Running for President
Politico reported Sunday that Sen. Tom Cotton (R–Ark.) has decided against running for president in 2024, after making several exploratory jaunts to New Hampshire and Iowa. That’s great news for anyone sick of hearing Cotton caterwaul about crime and drug offenders.
Cotton is one of the Senate’s staunchest defenders of mandatory minimum sentences and the drug war. He frequently complains that America has an “under-incarceration” problem and has opposed any form of criminal justice reform, no matter how moderate or anodyne. At his worst moments, which come often, he is a caricature of a “tough on crime” lawmaker.
Most recently, he was aghast at President Joe Biden pardoning federal marijuana offenders “in the midst of a crime wave.”
He has a visceral loathing for the rights of the accused, as well as defense attorneys who represent them. For example, he suggested that Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Jackson Brown, a former public defender, would have represented Nazis at the Nuremberg trials.
“The last Judge Jackson left the Supreme Court to go to Nuremberg and prosecute the case against the Nazis,” Cotton said in a floor speech railing against Jackson. “This Judge Jackson might have gone there to defend them.”
(Notably, Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson supported the right to counsel for Nuremberg defendants.)
There is no area of federal criminal law that Cotton thinks couldn’t benefit from harsher sentences: He wants new mandatory minimums for people who violate arbitrary bans on gun ownership.
And there is no area of federal criminal law that Cotton thinks is too harsh. In 2018, he repeatedly tried to torpedo the watere
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