Using his well-honed Barack-knows-best attitude, the president has overruled yet more federal judges, prosecutors and juries, commuting the prison sentences of 98 additional drug dealers.
This brings to 872 the number of commutations the Democrat has granted, 688 of them this year alone, a record. More than 200 of these individuals were originally sent away for life by the nation’s legal system. Many of their crimes involved firearms.
The growing early-release figure for Obama, who has admitted his own past drug use, is already larger than the last 11 presidents combined, according to a boastful White House lawyer. And with 84 days remaining on his Oval Office lease, the Chicagoan claims he is far from done.
Two years ago he vowed to release 10,000 felons before leaving office.
Now, not to worry. Obama will be in no danger, even with upwards of a thousand hardened prisoners and drug dealers released back out on the nation’s streets. The former president has armed bodyguards for life, even if he never returns to his own home on Chicago’s gun-ridden South Side.
The rest of us are on your own.
The professed rationale of Obama, who has used other presidential powers to the limits and beyond, is that he himself has decided these prison sentences were too long to begin with. So, he appointed himself as social repairman.
Of course, Obama’s waited until his last few months to duck any political consequences. And yes, the prison terms were universally assessed legally by judges and juries composed of average Americans and upheld on appeal. That’s not his problem.
The problem as Obama sees it is that sentences have changed over the years. So, he believes the easier terms should be applied retroactively. You know, Hope and Change.
According to White House lawyer Neil Eggleston, these releases also stem from Obama’s belief that “America is a nation of second chances.” At least for criminals, never mind their victims.
In some cases, Obama’s commutations differ from his predecessors. Some of his shorten the prison terms but do not involve immediate release. In 2008, for instance, David Neighbors, a 34-year-old Indiana man, got a life sentence for cocaine trafficking. Obama cut that to 30 years, meaning Neighbors could be out by his 56th birthday.
Other commutations carry stipulations requiring resident drug rehabilitation courses before release. However, under Obama’s executive decisions, many inmates will be released in time for this year’s holiday shopping season.
For some inmates even Obama’s record number of commutations is apparently inadequate. Jessica Sloan of the advocacy group Cut 50 suggests many more inmates await the expected entitlements: “We want answers for the families who are still waiting for their clemency.”