Hillary Clinton’s policies will increase the murder rate

Hillary Clinton’s policies will increase the murder rate

After falling for many years, murder rates rose sharply in 2015. Murder rates will rise further under a Clinton presidency, due to Hillary Clinton’s assault on the criminal justice system. She has said she will radically transform it from “end to end.” She will appoint soft-on-crime Supreme Court justices who will make it harder to impose maximum sentences on murderers. And she will put in charge of the Justice Department officials who are hostile to the police and view them as a racist institution. Her officials will use federal lawsuits and the threat of withholding federal funds to essentially take over police departments, making them much less efficient, effective, and accountable. By contrast, Donald Trump, for all his flaws, will appoint anti-crime judges who keep murderers and other predators off the streets.

As Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute points out,

Last year, homicides rose nearly 12 percent nationwide in agencies reporting to the FBI, close to the largest one-year increase in half a century. In cities with populations above a quarter-million, homicides rose 14.5 percent; cities with populations between half a million and a million saw a 20 percent increase in homicides. The victims have been overwhelmingly black.

The statisticians at 538.com add:

It’s official: Murder rose across the U.S. last year at the fastest pace since 1990, according to data released by the FBI on Monday. There were an estimated 15,696 murders in 2015, 1,532 more than in 2014 and the most recorded in a calendar year since 2008.

The Manhattan Institute’s Mac Donald puts the blame on the “Ferguson Effect,” in which left-leaning politicians like President Obama and Hillary Clinton peddle a false “narrative about racially biased policing” that “has poisoned the atmosphere in which police work.” Hillary Clinton has repeatedly made blatantly false claims about the degree of racism in arrests and police shootings, falsely claiming that higher black arrest rates reflect “systemic racism” by America’s police when they in fact are the result of the higher black crime rate. Similarly, Obama has falsely accused police of racism, based on apparent ignorance of crime statistics. Although the murder rate is eight times higher among blacks, and the rape rate more than three times as high, Obama alleged racism merely because the police twice as high a percentage of blacks as whites. Never mind that more than half of all murders are committed by blacks, who are just 13% of the population. (Most black murder victims are killed by other blacks.)

As Mac Donald observes, this demonization has changed “the ideological climate in which officers work. Since the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in August 2014, the claim that black males are under constant lethal threat from racist, trigger-happy cops has become engrained in our national discourse. President Barack Obama routinely accuses the cops of treating blacks and whites differently.”

Even the killing of police officers doesn’t stop the demonization of cops by Clinton and Obama. After the assassination of police officers in Baton Rouge in July, Hillary Clinton told the NAACP that we need to “root out implicit [police] bias and stop the killings of African-Americans.” During a Democratic presidential primary debate in January, Clinton was asked if it was “reality” that police officers see black lives as “cheap.” She answered unhesitatingly: “Sadly, it’s reality,” due to “the systemic racism in our criminal-justice system.”

As Mac Donald notes, “this charge of racially biased policing, amplified relentlessly by the media, is dangerously false. Four academic studies came out this year, alone, showing that police officers are, if anything, less likely to shoot blacks than [similarly-situated] whites.” Indeed, 12% of white and Hispanic homicide victims are killed by the police, compared to 4% of black homicide victims. Last year, whites made up 50 percent of all individuals fatally shot by the police; blacks were 26 percent — less than would be predicted by the black violent crime rate. Black males made up 40 percent of all cop killers over the last decade, though they are 6 percent of the population. A cop is 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male is to be killed by a police officer.

As Mac Donald observes, “However false, the narrative about racially biased policing has poisoned the atmosphere in which police work. Officers working in high-crime minority areas now frequently find themselves surrounded by hostile jeering crowds when they get out of their cars to conduct an investigation or make an arrest. . . In reaction to both the officially sanctioned narrative about lethal police racism and the animosity directed at them on inner-city streets, many cops have cut back on discretionary, proactive policing. . . Officers [in Chicago] are simply driving by large crowds of youth hanging out on corners and fighting, having been told by the Obama Justice Department that it is racially oppressive to disperse such unruly groups. Never mind that the law-abiding residents of high-crime areas beg the police to clear the corners and restore order. The ongoing rise of homicides and shootings in racially diverse cities is the result of the police backing off.”

Violent crime rates also may be increasing due to recent bad Supreme Court rulings, which will get even worse once Clinton appoints more liberal justices to it. The Supreme Court already includes four liberal justices hostile to the death penalty and life imprisonment without parole for many murderers. In a Hillary Clinton presidency, the death penalty is likely to be abolished, and it is likely to become much more difficult to give lengthy prison sentences to youthful murderers (murder is disproportionately committed by the young). The four liberal Supreme Court justices, such as Stephen Breyer, have hinted that they are just waiting for the opportunity to kill the death penalty for good. They only need one more liberal justice on the court to do so.

Hillary Clinton will be able to appoint a very extreme, pro-crime, left-wing justice, without any Republican support whatsoever, due to the upcoming abolition of the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations. Her vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine — who once represented death row inmates pro bono — has said that the Democrats will use the “nuclear option” to abolish such filibusters, which allowed 40 senators to block an ideologically extreme nominee. In the absence of a filibuster, the Democrats can approve the nomination of a Supreme Court justice on a narrow, party-line vote, with only 51 votes, meaning Clinton is likely to pick a justice who is very young, and very ideologically extreme.

In recent decisions such as Hurst v. Florida (2016), Hall v. Florida (2014), and Roper v. Simmons (2005), the Supreme Court has already made it harder to impose the death penalty on even the worst murderers, who kill their victims in ways that amount to premeditated torture. In a 5-to-4 ruling, the Supreme Court declared that states cannot mandate life sentences without the possibility of parole for murderers under age 18, no matter how horrible the murder, or close the murderer is to age 18, in Miller v. Alabama (2012).

Liberal judges will make it much harder to impose such life sentences, much less death sentences. They have argued that any sentence of over 30 years is also forbidden by the Miller ruling, since prisoners supposedly age faster in prison than out. Some left-wing lawyers argue that the logic of the Miller ruling should be extended above age 18 to college students and other young adults, to effectively treat them as children, even though murderers come disproportionately from this very group. Some left-wing politicians also argue that the age of adult responsibility for crimes should be raised to age 20.

The attack on meaningful penalties for crime will gradually result in large increases in the murder rate, as murderers become aware of how light penalties have become. The death penalty is most effective in deterring murders, and life without parole is more effective than lesser penalties. For example, many researchers have concluded that the death penalty saves lives by deterring murder more effectively than mere imprisonment. As the Associated Press noted in 2007, “Each execution deters an average of 18 murders, according to a 2003 nationwide study by professors at Emory University. (Other studies have estimated the deterred murders per execution at three, five and 14).” Additional studies are described by David Mulhausen of the Heritage Foundation at this link. For example, he notes that “two studies by Paul R. Zimmerman, a Federal Communications Commission economist, also support the deterrent effect of capital punishment…. [E]ach additional execution, on average, results in 14 fewer murders.”

Trump is the polar opposite of Hillary Clinton on crime. He defends the police, and points out that black people suffer from violent crime at a higher rate than than any other group — most of it black-on-black crime. No one suffers more from crime than the law-abiding majority of black people.

Even back when Trump was a liberal on most things, he was anti-crime, as chroniclers of New York history like Fred Siegel have noted. Donald Trump is running on a law and order platform, and has defended the police against inaccurate, broad-brush accusations of  racism.

Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court picks consists of experienced, well-respected appellate judges who support free speech and property rights, and who are highly-rated by Libertarian and conservative legal scholars. Since Trump has always been passionately anti-crime, even many years ago, he is likely to nominate anti-crime judges. Anti-crime judges tend to be more conservative than judges who are soft on crime, so Trump is more likely to nominate conservative judges than Hillary Clinton, just due to his stance on crime. Anti-crime judges are also less likely to engage in left-wing judicial activism, less likely to permit abusive lawsuits, and more supportive of free speech, property rights, and freedom of association, than judges who are soft on crime.

Jerome Woehrle

Jerome Woehrle

Jerome Woehrle is a retired attorney and author, who writes about politics.


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