Editorial: Why the GOP wants to arrest US prosecutor Rachael Rollins
Boston is one of the few major cities in the United States where violent crime decreased in 2021, and the decline has been dramatic. The most startling statistic was the decrease in homicides, which fell by almost a third.
These numbers are extremely embarrassing for Senatorial Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, who is try to block the meeting of Rachael Rollins as American lawyer for Massachusetts. Rollins is currently a district attorney for Suffolk County, Massachusetts, which is dominated by Boston and includes three smaller towns.
McConnell intoned last week against Rollins for being “lenient on crime,” apparently because she asked her prosecutors to focus their attention on the county’s most dangerous and serious offenses. Too bad for McConnell that his approach can show extraordinarily positive results.
Too bad also for GOP Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who regrouped Rollins with other Democrats whose actions, he said, have “led to a historic increase in killings and contributed to the wave of crimes.”
And too bad for GOP Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who continued a long rant against Rollins in his Senate Judiciary Committee nomination hearing last month for failing to prosecute crimes like trespassing and shoplifting – but failing to mention that in Suffolk County these offenses are referred for alternative resolutions which include addiction and mental health treatment and restitution. Or that a recent large independent Suffolk County Crime Study found that diverting lower-level offenses from the criminal justice system reduces future involvement in crime. In other words, it makes us more secure.
Rollins was one of President Biden’s smartest appointments, and if her appointment is ultimately approved in the Senate, she would become Massachusetts’ highest federal prosecutor, dealing with cases involving national security, white-collar crime, la public corruption, cybercrime, gang violence and civil rights. offenses. Cruz’s complaints about the lack of prosecution for shoplifting are unanswered.
So what is really going on here?
One clue is Senate Republicans’ treatment of two previous Justice Department appointments from Biden earlier this year. As with Rollins, they tried to roll back civil rights champion nominations Vanita Gupta as Deputy Attorney General and Kristen clarke as Deputy Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division. In all three cases, the Judiciary Commission was blocked in 11-11 party line votes. Gupta and Clarke were ultimately confirmed in the Senate.
It should be noted that all three lawyers are women. Two are black, one is of Indian origin. The careers of all three have focused on equal justice, without racial or gender discrimination.
Republican elected officials continue to harness their political carts to the most reactionary segments of the American police, who feel threatened by the rhetoric of the “defund”. McConnell, Cotton, Cruz, and others have followed their lead in speciously claiming that Democrats have effectively stripped the police of their resources, when in fact, in nearly every city and county in America, funding for the forces of the order continues to increase or at least to remain stable. .
Moreover, Republicans fear the inroads that elected “progressive prosecutors” like Rollins have made on voters. And they cling to, but not understand at all and misapply, the “broken windows theory” which emphasizes the role of order in public safety and which has often been used inappropriately to justify policies of “no tolerance” even for the most minor crimes.
Biden’s nomination of Rollins, while not drastic, poses a threat to the Republican narrative about Democrats and crime, as do Boston’s enviable crime statistics.
Has Rollins Really Discovered The Secret To Rolling Back Violent Crime?
Maybe yes, maybe no. Crime has many causes, and the role of prosecutors, as opposed to a multitude of social, economic and other factors, is elusive, especially in the short term. Crime has increased this year and has lasted in many jurisdictions with both senior and progressive prosecutors. The point is, when GOP senators claim that Rollins’ policies increase crime, they are only making things up to justify blocking one of the most successful criminal justice leaders in the country.
Biden also has other U.S. attorney positions to fill, most notably in the Central District of California, which covers Los Angeles and six other counties. He should choose more people like Rollins: smart, strong, motivated, innovative and efficient lawyers. They will get the Republican retreat. And if they stay the course, they will overcome it and we will all be better off.