[To the next President of the United States]
- The War on Drugs. The federal government has historically allocated about the same amount of resources to drug interdiction on the border and abroad as for drug treatment in the U.S. Is that a fair division, or would you spend more or less money on either function?
- Policing. Would you direct your Attorney General to continue or expand the current administration’s oversight over local police departments in areas such as excessive use of force and racial bias? Do you consider officer-involved shootings a serious problem—and if so what role should the federal government have?
- Sentencing Reform. What steps would you take with Congress to reduce the long prison sentences that have contributed to the growth in our federal prison population? What steps would you take to encourage states to do the same?
- Gun Violence. Do you consider gun violence a problem that can be addressed with a return to stricter federal legislation? If not, what role if any should the federal government play in addressing firearms abuse?
- Marijuana. Federal law makes marijuana an illegal drug, but several states have either legalized recreational pot—or are considering doing so. What would you do about this contradiction? Do you favor changing the federal classification of marijuana as a dangerous drug?
- Homeland Security. Since it was established in 2001, the Department of Homeland Security has grown to become one of the nation’s largest federal bureaucracies. Do you believe it has been effective in its combined missions of protecting our borders and countering terrorism? If not, how would you change it?
- White Collar Crime. Has the Justice Department done a sufficient job of holding executives in the financial industry personally responsible for major crimes? Sen. Elizabeth Warren has proposed ending the practice of deferring criminal prosecution for banks and other financial institutions found to have engaged in repeated corporate wrongdoing. Would you direct the Department of Justice to adopt her proposal? If not, why?
- Capital Punishment. Do you favor capital punishment for terrorism or other heinous federal crimes?
- Electronic Surveillance. Edward Snowden’s revelations about the mass surveillance of American citizens and government leaders abroad have exacerbated concerns about privacy. Do you believe such extensive electronic surveillance is warranted? Will you continue the current administration’s efforts to criminally prosecute Snowden?
- Sentinel Events. Would you direct the next Attorney General to continue to support—or expand—the National Institute of Justice’s pilot “Sentinel Events” program, which is developing a systemic approach to fixing criminal justice system dysfunctions that result in injustices like wrongful convictions—similar to the approach adapted decades ago by the Civil Aviation Administration to analyze and prevent airline catastrophes?
- Judicial Vacancies. Our federal courts are in crisis because Senators have been slow in confirming judges for the growing number of vacancies. How would you address this?
- Overcriminalization. Do you believe we have overcriminalized too many behaviors that pose little or no danger to public safety? If so, what will you do about it?
- Juvenile Justice. Does the federal government have a role in reforming some of the abuses in our present treatment of juvenile offenders? If so, what should that role be?