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Tipsheet

Hawley Grills Biden's Sentencing Commission Nominee Over 'Alarming' Position on Mandatory Minimums

Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via AP

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) argued Joe Biden’s nominees are getting “more and more radical” after the president’s U.S. Sentencing Commission nominee refused to say whether she supports any mandatory minimums. 

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Hawley asked Laura Mate, director of the Sentencing Resource Counsel Project in the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the District of Arizona, about a 2013 letter she signed commenting on a proposal to the Sentencing Commission. 

Hawley pointed out the letter argued sentencing guidelines were too harsh for child porn offenders and that mandatory minimums should be abolished. 

He wanted to know if she still believed that.

She responded that the letter came from the defender view and she’d need to do more research to come up with an opinion now.

“I don’t have an opinion on that right now, senator. I would want to look at the data and get up to speed on where things are right now,” she said.

“You had an opinion in 2013, so now you’re saying you don’t have one?” Hawley wondered. 

“I’m saying that I would want to offer you an informed opinion and things change over time. That was a long time ago,” she replied. 

“Indeed, they do,” Hawley said. "You said a number of frankly alarming things in that letter including saying that you reject the view of some commissioners that a mandatory minimum penalty is ever needed, ever, or appropriate in child pornography cases, ever."

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The senator told her point blank he couldn’t support her nomination. 

“I can’t possibly support your nomination. I can’t support the nomination of someone who wants to do away with mandatory minimums,” he said. “I think it’s a radical position, and I think, frankly, your nomination is indicative of where this administration is on its soft-on-crime policies.”


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