Jacob Sullum on Rand Paul Challenging the GOP's Reflexive Support of Law Enforcement


Running for the U.S. Senate in 2010, Rand Paul became known as that crazy right-winger who expressed reservations about the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But in the last two years, the Kentucky Republican has emerged as his party's most passionate voice on criminal justice reform, decrying the system's disproportionate impact on African Americans. You might think Paul, widely seen as a contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, is trying to redeem himself with black voters who were alienated by his criticism of the Civil Rights Act. Yet, writes Jacob Sullum, both positions spring from the same wariness of state power, as illustrated by the senator's comments on the over-the-top police response to the unrest that followed the August 9 shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri.