Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Washington�The U.S. Supreme Court will decide shortly whether to heed the calls of Congress and the Bush administration last week to resolve confusion in the lower courts over the constitutionality of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines triggered by a high court decision last month. Following a spate of conflicting district and circuit rulings, the Senate passed a concurrent resolution urging the justices to act “expeditiously” to end inconsistency in the sentencing system triggered by their ruling in Blakely v. Washington, 124 S. Ct. 2531. On the same day, the Justice Department formalized that request by filing two petitions for certiorari: U.S. v. Booker, No. 03-4225, out of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and U.S. v. Fanfan, No. 03-47, from the federal district court in Portland, Maine. The high court responded quickly by directing lawyers for the defendants to file their answers to the petitions by July 28. Acting Solicitor General Paul Clement also asked the justices, if they agree to hear the two cases, to accelerate the briefing schedule so that arguments could be heard as early as Sept. 13�about three weeks before the new term opens. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who spoke at the 9th Circuit’s annual conference last week-and wrote the dissenting opinion in Blakely�said the case “looks like a No. 10 earthquake to me.” She added that she was “disgusted in how we dealt with it.” In Blakely, a 5-4 high court held that the Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial requires a jury, not a judge, to find, beyond a reasonable doubt, any aggravating facts, other than a prior conviction, that support the imposition of a higher sentence than authorized by the state’s sentencing law. The ruling invalidated Washington’s sentencing scheme, which had permitted the sentencing judge to find aggravating facts. Clement told the court in his petitions that Blakely had cast “a long shadow” over the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which for the last 15 years have allowed sentencing judges to find the facts necessary to arrive at a sentencing range for each defendant. The government’s petitions ask the justices to answer two questions: whether Blakely applies to the federal sentencing guidelines, and if it does, whether the guidelines as a whole are inapplicable. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.