A U.S. Senate bill to cut mandatory minimum drug sentences in half is dividing “senior, establishment Republicans who stress their law-and-order credentials and junior, more libertarian-minded members of the party who want to shrink the federal role in incarceration,” says Congressional Quarterly. Some who favor it have tea party support and view the bill through a libertarian lens. Opponents are “tough on crime” Republicans: Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas, a former state attorney general and judge; Jeff Sessions of Alabama, a former federal prosecutor, and Charles Grassley of Iowa.
William Otis, a law professor at Georgetown University, said older Republicans may base their views on recollections of the crime wave that led to tough sentencing laws. “For those of us that age, we remember what it was like, because we grew up in the '60s and '70s and the experience of the crime wave of those two decades is vivid,” Otis said. “My generation remembers that. Rand Paul's generation, Jeff Flake's generation and Mike Lee's generation does not,”alluding to senators who favor the bill. The story was quoted on the Sentencing Law and Policy blog.