- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 20, 2015

President Barack Obama said that the civil rights and respect for human life are issues that Democrats and Republicans should be able to agree upon.

He called on the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner during his State of the Union address to push for reforms to the nation’s criminal justice system.

“We may have different takes on the events of Ferguson and New York,” Mr. Obama said. “But surely we can understand a father who fears his son can’t walk home without being harassed. Surely we can understand the wife who won’t rest until the police officer she married walks through the front door at the end of his shift.”

The president said he hopes everyone can agree that it’s good for the U.S. that the crime rate and incarceration rate are both lower for the first time in 40 years.

Unity between races, cultures, creeds and political parties is a better way to govern, Mr. Obama argued.

“That’s how we move this country forward,” he said. “That’s what the American people want. That’s what they deserve.”

Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat and Ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Tweeted his support of the president Tuesday night.

“Kudos to President for calling to reform criminal justice system,” he tweeted in abbreviation. “Mandatory Minimum sentences are unjust and don’t make us safer.”

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