Chaffetz, Holder Unite to Soften Sentencing Laws

Erstwhile political foes Jason Chaffetz and Eric Holder meet at the Justice Department to discuss (over breakfast) their bipartisan effort to eliminate mandatory-minimum prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenders.

Reports The New York Times:

Mr. Chaffetz once suggested that Republicans might have Mr. Holder arrested for contempt. But Mr. Holder recently had him for breakfast at the Justice Department.

“I understand what hearings are like,” Mr. Holder said. “They’re as much theater as they are substance. The conversation we had over that breakfast was really about substance. When it comes to substance, there’s a basis for agreement between a Democratic attorney general and these Republican congressmen.”

Mr. Chaffetz said his conversations with Mr. Holder represented “one of the few instances I can point to where we’re starting to make some kid steps forward” toward bipartisan collaboration.

That is not to say Mr. Chaffetz — or Mr. Paul — sees lots of areas for agreement with the administration on civil liberties issues. For instance, Mr. Chaffetz said he had failed repeatedly to get the Justice Department to make public its policies for tracking vehicles without warrants.

“I think there’s a realization that we’re not actually solving the problem with some of these drug crimes,” Mr. Chaffetz added. “But on the other side of the coin, there’s no trust with the Obama administration. None.”