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March 04, 2008

Comments

Ed Hopkins (1L)

I really like Miller and Chanenson's argument. It encouraged me to look past other economic arguments that smelled like red herrings.

Derrick Bell's interest convergence theory ( http://phobos.ramapo.edu/~jweiss/laws131/unit3/bell.htm ) guided my attempt to understand

a) why Senator Obama supports retroactively applying the just punishments suggested by the Commission;

b) why Senator Clinton does not support it (Maybe William J. Clinton's presidential legacy has something to do with Senator Clinton's position on this); and

c) why President Bush has implicitly supported it in word but has not supported it in action during his presidency.

With the article's argument and Bell's critical race theory in mind, I began to think about things such as race, social capital, political capital, cultural capital, and wealth. Those dots led me to make connections to the prison industrial complex, how this complex created thousands of middle-class jobs during the past two decades, who benefitted most from those jobs, and how those jobs might influence votes in the political districts most enriched by the prison industrial complex. Then, I thought a little about this competition for U.S. President that has so many people romantically chanting "sí se puede" in Texas.

They would be working poor and lower-class African American and Hispanic American families who would benefit most from retroactively applying the new sentencing rules, not middle-class and upper-class Non-Hispanic White Americans. Not even working poor and lower-class Non-Hispanic White Americans would benefit as much as African American and Hispanic American families. Working poor and lower-class African American and Hispanic American families would be most likely to get back a few thousand economically productive family members.

Even though most enfranchised U.S. citizens wouldn't benefit directly or immediately, why wouldn't all of us want thousands of African Americans and Hispanic Americans serving grossly unjust crack sentences to return to their working poor and lower-class families and communities and get back to work?

A few thousand African American and Hispanic American Texans should have read Miller and Chanenson's article by now. If many of them were on the fence regarding whether to vote for Obama or Clinton today, this article might have tipped them over to the right side, or rather the left side (hint, hint), of the fence.

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