In one of the more noteworthy moments of Attorney General nominee William Barr’s confirmation hearing this week, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) grilled President Donald Trump’s pick on his record regarding criminal justice — and the potential 2020 hopeful said he was not impressed.
“I was very disappointed,” Booker, who questioned Barr at Tuesday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, told reporters Wednesday.
“He’s going to be the chief law enforcement officer in the country, and he didn’t seem to be aware of the compelling, unequivocal evidence of disproportional black incarceration rates,” Booker added. “Which is unfortunate, and it’s something we have to correct as a country.”
During Tuesday’s hearing, Booker grilled Barr regarding mass incarceration and racism in the criminal justice system, asking if he still believed “there’s no statistical evidence of racism in the criminal justice system.”
Watch the video below:
William Barr said "overall" he thought the criminal justice system is working & "it's not predicated on racism."
But the facts don't lie. Overall the criminal justice system is NOT working & has a disparate impact on people of color. pic.twitter.com/BSTZIuJIxN
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) January 16, 2019
“I think that’s taken out of a broader quote, which is the whole criminal justice system involves both federal but also state and local justice systems,” Barr replied. “I said there’s no doubt there are places where there’s racism still in the system. But I said overall, I thought that, as a system, it’s working.”
The long-rumored 2020 hopeful went on to say: “I was a young, black guy in 1990s. I was a 20-something-year-old and experienced a dramatically different justice system in the treatment I received.
“Blacks are 3.6 times more likely to be arrested for selling drugs despite the fact that whites are actually more likely to sell drugs in the United States of America,” Booker added. “Blacks are 2.5 times more likely to be arrested for possession of drugs when there is no difference racially in America for the usage and possession of drugs in the United States.”
Since Republicans hold a comfortable majority in the Senate, Barr is likely to breeze through confirmation. Booker has yet to announce his candidacy for 2020.