Attorney General Eric Holder, in his quest to have voting rights restored to convicted felons, has latched on to an unlikely name to further his cause. In a speech given at the Georgetown University Law Center on Tuesday, Holder invoked a statement given by Rand Paul to add weight to the Justice Department’s renewed focus on criminal justice reform.
“…Felony disenfranchisement laws date to a time when these policies were employed not to improve public safety, but purely as punitive measures intended to stigmatize, shame and shut out a person who had been found guilty of a crime,” Holder said.
Such laws disenfranchise an estimated 5.8 million Americans, more than the individual populations of 31 states, Holder said. He called Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) a “leader” on the issue of restoring voting rights to former felons, and said Paul’s “vocal support for restoring voting rights for former inmates shows that this issue need not break down along partisan lines….”
While speaking to a group in Louisville, Kentucky last September, Paul indicated he would be in favor of legislation that would allow felons to regain their right to vote and own firearms upon completing their sentences.
“I am in favor of letting people get their rights back, the right to vote … Second Amendment rights, all your rights to come back,” Paul said. “I know of one man who 30-some-odd years ago had pot plants in his closet in college, got a felony conviction in college, still can’t vote, and it’s plagued him his whole life trying to get work.”
Do you agree or disagree with Holder and Paul? Should felons have their right to vote restored once they have served their sentence? What about their second amendment rights?
Just some food for thought….