Let’s play 20 questions, writes Washington Post columnist Radley Balko in a message to the Democrats’ 2020 presidential contenders. Balko’s list of criminal-justice and civil-liberties questions aim to dig beneath the stock promises to oppose mass incarceration and more strictly regulate guns.
Among Balko’s 20 questions: How will you use federal funding to influence local justice policy? Will your Justice Department resume suing police departments to force reforms? Will it revive the National Commission on Forensic Science and support the use of “junk science writs” to challenge convictions when new science comes to light? Among the questions on improving indigent criminal defense, attacking wrongful convictions and campus rape, and federal gun-crime enforcement, perhaps the question with the greatest long-term potential impact is Balko’s No. 19: “Would you consider appointing someone to the court with a significant criminal defense background?”