Holder, Paul united against mandatory minimums

Attorney Gen. Eric Holder is teaming with unlikely allies from the GOP’s Libertarian wing in his quest to scrap mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent criminals, The New York Times reports.

Holder, the subject of harsh Republican criticism throughout the Obama administration, has found common ground with Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulHouse bill set to reignite debate on warrantless surveillance Authorizing military force is necessary, but insufficient GOP feuds with outside group over analysis of tax framework MORE (R-Ky.) on the sentencing issue.

“Their partnership unites the nation’s first African-American attorney general, who sees his legacy in a renewed focus on civil rights, and some of Congress’s most prominent libertarians, who have accused the Obama administration of trampling on personal freedom with drones, wiretaps, tracking devices and too much government,” writes the Times’s Matt Apuzzo.

Holder has pushed for eased drug sentences as part of the Obama administration’s “Smart on Crime” initiative targeting racial and social disparities in the justice system and emphasizing diversion programs over jail time.

His partnership with Paul and other congressional Republicans on the issue could pave the way for the “most significant liberalization of sentencing laws since President Richard M. Nixon declared war on drugs,” according to the Times story.

Holder and Paul are also united in their drive to secure voting rights for certain ex-convicts who have paid their debts to society, the two men said last week during an event at Georgetown University.

Check out the full Times story here.