Tom Cotton vows to block Biden US attorney nominee Rachael Rollins, who has lengthy do-not-prosecute list

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Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., on Thursday vowed to block the confirmation of President Biden’s nominee Rachael Rollins to lead the U.S. attorney’s office in Massachusetts, saying her soft-on-crime approach as a district attorney would only add to the rising crime wave across the country.

“Democrats have defunded police departments, stopped prosecutions for numerous crimes, ended cash bail, and demanded early release even for violent criminals,” Cotton, who serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a statement provided to Fox News. 

“These actions resulted in a historic increase in murders and contributed to the crime wave,” he added. “Rachael Rollins won’t stand up for the victims of these crimes, and I will seek to stop her nomination.”

Rollins, the district attorney for Suffolk County, is expected to be confirmed by the Senate this fall, unless a Democratic senator votes against her. If confirmed, she would become the first Black woman to serve as U.S. attorney for Massachusetts.

What spurred Cotton’s statement is a policy memo Rollins released shortly after taking office in January 2019, which identified more than a dozen charges she said should be declined for prosecution entirely or recommended for diversion, such as mental health or substance abuse treatment.

Such low-level offenses included trespassing, shoplifting, larceny, disorderly conduct, receiving stolen property, driving with a suspended license, wanton or malicious destruction of property, threats, underage drinking, drug possession, possession with intent to distribute and resisting arrest.

“Biden’s nominee to be a federal prosecutor effectively legalized shoplifting and possession with intent to distribute drugs,” Cotton tweeted Tuesday. “Think crime is bad now? Just wait.”

During the George Floyd protests last year, Rollins helped form the Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission in partnership with the Grassroots Law Project, aimed at addressing “the serious trauma inflicted by a legal system that has gone largely unchecked for generations.”

The Grassroots Law Project says police reform “must begin with defunding police and investing in communities” and advocates for the closure of “youth and adult prisons and jails,” the Washington Free Beacon reported Tuesday.

Massachusetts Sens. Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren, who recommended Rollins for the job, said they would work to get her confirmed “as quickly as possible.”

“District Attorney Rollins is a national leader on transforming the criminal justice system and shifting away from an approach based on punishment and penalization to one that combats the root causes of injustice, whether it be poverty, substance use, or racial disparity,” they said in a joint statement Monday.

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