In politics, as in most things, there is strength in numbers. A growing coalition of organizations across the political spectrum say they plan to use that heft to move Congress to reform the federal justice system in 2016, if not sooner.
"There's a real opportunity here in both the House and Senate to take the ideas that have started to work at the state level and look critically at the federal system," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Thursday at the Bipartisan Summit on Criminal-Justice Reform. "If the president will be a reinforcement, rather than the guy who sets the terms, he will find a bill he likes very much gets to his desk on a truly bipartisan basis. It has got to stay, in a disciplined way, truly bipartisan on both sides—and if it does, I think we could, either late this year or early next year, have a genuinely historic achievement."
The unlikely coalition—uniting the Center for American Progress and the Koch brothers, among others—met at an all-day conference to discuss their goals and the path to attaining them. Over the next year, they will lobby for reform of the criminal-justice system, urging lawmakers to pass reform legislation in both chambers to send to the White House.