"A Man Like This"

by digby

I don't know about you, but I was quite moved by this part of Bush's commutation statement. In fact I almost cried:

`I respect the jury's verdict,'' Bush said in a statement. ``But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive.''

He is compassionate after all, isn't he? Thirty months is just too excessive. Well, at least when it comes to the right kind of people: He has different plans for everyone else:

WASHINGTON, June 13, 2007

The Bush administration is trying to roll back a Supreme Court decision by pushing legislation that would require prison time for nearly all criminals.

The Justice Department is offering the plan as an opening salvo in a larger debate about whether sentences for crack cocaine are unfairly harsh and racially discriminatory.

Republicans are seizing the administration's crackdown, packaged in legislation to combat violent crime, as a campaign issue for 2008.

In a speech June 1 to announce the bill, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales urged Congress to re-impose mandatory minimum prison sentences against federal convicts — and not let judges consider such penalties “merely a suggestion.”

Such an overhaul, in part, “will strengthen our hand in fighting criminals who threaten the safety and security of all Americans,” Gonzales said in the speech, delivered three days before the FBI announced a slight national uptick in violent crime during 2006.

Judges, however, were livid over the proposal to limit their power.

“This would require one-size-fits-all justice,” said U.S. District Judge Paul G. Cassell, chairman of the Criminal Law committee of the Judicial Conference, the judicial branch's policy-making body.

“The vast majority of the public would like the judges to make the individualized decisions needed to make these very difficult sentencing decisions,” Cassell said. “Judges are the ones who look the defendants in the eyes. They hear from the victims. They hear from the prosecutors.”

The debate, pitting prosecutors against jurists, has been ongoing since a 2005 Supreme Court ruling that declared the government's two decades-old sentencing guidelines unconstitutional. The ruling in United States v. Booker said judges are not required to abide by the federal guidelines — which set mandatory minimum and maximums on sentences — but could consider them in meting out prison time.

The Justice Department wants to return to the old system of mandatory minimum sentences, under which judges could grant leniency only in special cases. Without those required floors, Justice officials maintain that different judges could hand out widely varying penalties for the same crime.

Justice officials also point to a growing number of lighter sentences as possible proof that crime is on the rise because criminals are no longer cowed by strict penalties.

I heard GOP strategist Ed Rollins say earlier that "it's always hard to see a man like this go to jail," which is so true. He's not "one of them" you know. (Like these awful people, for instance.)

I just saw the Fox Allstars practically pole dancing over this, saying outright that Libby's pals are going to pay his fines for him and that he'll have no problem finding work. High fives all around. They got so excited that they forgot they were supposed to be all dour and somber over the horrible, awful punishment that poor little Scooter is going to have to endure even though he isn't spending a day in jail.

Joe DiGenova on CNN just spent what seemed like a half hour saying over and over again that Libby was a great American and the next step is an investigation into prosecutorial misconduct by Patrick Fitzgerald and hopes that more will come out during "the appeal." Patrick Fitzgerald is about to see his career permanently destroyed by these scumbags.

This is a very, very depressing day, even though we knew it would happen in one way or another. It's just a continuation of this administration's complete disregard for the law and their belief that they are entitled to special treatment because, well, they are just, so special.

Bush has just slapped a jury, four Republican judges, and the American people right in the face and blatantly instigated a cover-up of his illegal acts by giving his former aid amnesty. And the hits just keep on coming.

I just heard on Olbermann that Fitzgerald issued a statement reaffirming Bush's right to commute the sentence but went into great detail about Bush's claim that the sentence was excessive, saying that it was within the guidelines and that everyone should stand equal before the law.

That's a nice idea. But who's being naive, Pat?