The Cocaine Compromise

Adam Serwer sums up the decision on sentencing reform:

The compromise was that Durbin would accept Sessions' amendment to change the disparity from 100 to 1 to 20 to 1. In return, Sessions offered to withdraw his amendments that would have narrowed the circumstances under which a judge could reduce penalties for offenders who acted with "fear, impulse or affection," and would have imposed a 10-year mandatory maximum for simple possession rather than eliminating the five-year mandatory minimum for simple possession entirely.

Instead of eliminating the crack/powder disparity, which practically everyone in the committee acknowledged disproportionately affects black Americans, the senators opted to make the law one-fifth as racist as it used to be. The senators on the committee spent the rest of the markup complimenting each other on all they had achieved with their bipartisanship.

TNC sighs:

It's progress, I guess.