Trey Gowdy (R-SC) is among the most respected GOP leaders on Capitol Hill. Conservative voters passionately defend the South Carolina firebrand because they see his willingness to take on the powers that be whenever they cross the American people. Gowdy will need their support as he takes on the most difficult challenge of his political career – reforming the American justice system.
Gowdy is the chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations, recently announced during a recent hearing that he plans to use his role in leading the committee to undertake the Herculian effort of fixing our broken justice system and making it worthy of respect again. In particular he spoke to reforming our drug sentencing policies and unfair drug laws including ridding the nation of mandatory minimum laws.
These are bipartisan issues that will end up affecting every American and Gowdy should be praised for being willing to take on this difficult task.
I don’t know that I’ll have that many questions for you other than raise points that I would like you to reflect upon. And then over the course of your — your tenure, and as long as I’m in Congress, would like to work with your respective agencies to see if we can make some progress.
I know both of you’ve been in the justice system before, so you’ve seen the majesty of a system that exceeds peoples’ expectations. There’s a reason we have a phrase may justice be done though the heavens fall. And it — it — it is beautiful and majestic to watch a justice system that inspires people.
On the other side, if you’ve ever had witnesses that had knowledge, refused to cooperate, you’ve had victims that had no expectation whatsoever that the system would work for them. Perception is reality. And when you have communities among our American family that don’t have confidence in the justice system, it’s all of our problems.
And — and we can debate the legitimacy of those perceptions, but the perceptions remain. So, my focus on whatever amount of time I have left in this job is — is to try to find that justice system that is not just respected, but worthy of respect — aspirationally worthy of respect.
So, I’m going to raise some issues that may be unusual for Republicans to raise and I will start with the ratio between cocaine base and cocaine powder.
I understand it’s a rational basis test, I understand we just to have a reason for it, or at least they did when — when the law was initially passed.
But at some point, Mr. Rosenberg, I’d love to sit down with whoever the pharmacological experts are at DNA — at the DEA and — and understand what it is about the pharmacology of baking soda that makes the ratio 18:1.
And if there is — if there is a basis for it, then — then help me — help me understand it. I — I get, going to CANNA law, there’s a rational basis test, but (inaudible) in the justice system is the most compelling national interest we could possibly have.
So, I’d love to work with the DEA and understand why a 1:1 ratio isn’t better. Mandatory minimums, some think they work great in violent crime cases, I would be in that camp, less so for perhaps economic or nonviolent crime cases.
Also, as a former prosecutor, I know mandatory minimums are — are an effective way to get folks to cooperate.
But whether or not the drug amount levels need to be raised, whether there can be some proportionality as we, you know, treat methamphetamine and heroine and cocaine powder and cocaine base, you know marijuana it takes tractor trailers full to reach a mandatory minimum but not so with other — with other drugs…