The United States still has a prejudiced judicial system, even after eight years under its first African-American president, according to Barack Obama.
In a 56-page essay recently published in the Harvard Law Review, Obama stressed the need to acknowledge how whites and blacks receive different treatment by law-enforcement officers and judges. “We cannot deny the legacy of racism that continues to drive inequality in how the justice system is experienced by so many Americans,” he wrote.
Breitbart News reported that the president mentioned studies by the NAACP that proved officers disproportionately stop and question African-Americans and Latinos. The civil-rights organization also found evidence that racial minorities receive harsher punishment from the courts.
“If we are to chart honestly the path for criminal-justice reform, we must confront the role of race and bias in shaping the policies that led us to this point,” Obama urged. Explaining his administration’s release of 1,324 prison inmates with pardons and clemency since 2009, he wrote: “While not a substitute for the lasting change that can be achieved by passage of legislation, the clemency power represents an important and underutilized tool for advancing reform.”