Walters nearly confirmed as Drug Czar

President Bush's hard-line nominee to head the Office of National Drug Control Policy won approval of his nomination in the Senate Judiciary Committee on November 8th, but as the Razor Wire went to press no further action had been taken. John Walters, a protege of former drug czar William Bennett, saw his nomination approved on a 14-5 vote. The nomination will now go to the full Senate, where it is expected to pass.

The Walters' nomination had been strongly criticized by drug reformers and some senators because of Walters' positions on, among other things, racial disparities in the criminal justice system (what racial disparities?), government sponsorship of drug treatment (the liberal nanny state), and mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenders (a good thing).

Now, having been approved in committee and likely to win approval from the full Senate, Walters is on the verge of completing the Bush administration's hard-line drug policy trio. He will join Attorney General John Ashcroft and DEA administrator Asa Hutchinson, both of whom have recently and decisively demonstrated their contempt toward a civilized drug policy. Walters should fit in perfectly with this punitive crowd.

The five senators who voted against the Walters nomination are Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Joe Biden (D-DE), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Charles Schumer (D-NY), and Ted Kennedy (D-MA).

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