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July 19, 2005

What might Justice John Roberts mean for sentencing jurisprudence?

Now the name is John Roberts for the Supreme Court over at SCONo and elsewhere, including this AP report.  From the SCONo folks here is a lot of background on Judge Roberts.  Though I'm personally keen on graduates from my law school alma mater on the High Court, Judge Roberts lacks trial court experience and lacks real criminal law experience.  But if he is good enough for Tom Goldstein....

My sense is that there is little sound basis for predicting, or even guessing, Judge Roberts' views on a range of criminal justice issues.  But, as I have discussed here, any replacement for Justice O'Connor could shift the direction of SCOTUS's death penalty jurisprudence.  And, as I have stressed in recent posts here and here, there is no doubt that Judge Roberts, if confirmed, not only would be a key vote concerning the fate of the Almendarez-Torres "prior conviction exception" and the Harris "mandatory minimum" exception to the Apprendi-Blakely rule, but he also could play a pivotal role in further development of what the Booker remedy really means when the High Court takes up follow-up federal sentencing cases in the terms ahead.

I highly encourage readers to use the comments to share any Judge Roberts' anecdotes or insights which might provide some basis for reasonable speculation concerning his views on criminal justice matters.

UPDATE: TalkLeft, via SCONo, has this list of Judge Roberts' criminal law opinions from his time on the DC Circuit.  And this growing Roberts' opinion list from SCONo has a number of criminal justice decisions at the top.

July 19, 2005 at 08:09 PM | Permalink

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» Blog Round-Up - Wednesday, July 20th from SCOTUSblog
Complete coverage of Judge Roberts and the confirmation process is available on The Supreme Court Nomination Blog. Here is the most recent of a series of posts on the Volokh Conspiracy about Tradesports and the accuracy of electronic markets when... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 20, 2005 9:28:50 AM

» Blog Round-Up - Wednesday, July 20th from SCOTUSblog
Complete coverage of Judge Roberts and the confirmation process is available on The Supreme Court Nomination Blog. Here is the most recent of a series of posts on the Volokh Conspiracy about Tradesports and the accuracy of electronic markets when... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 20, 2005 9:36:20 AM

Comments

Perhaps the most telling case on John Roberts' outlook is not on one of the big issues but one involving a juvenile misdemeanor. Back in 2000 the Metro Transit Police arrested a 12-year-old girl for eating a French fry in the subway. While this was against posted rules, the police chose to take this girl away in handcuffs in a windowless vehicle to a station where she was held until her mother could get her. Roberts described the police action as regrettable but upheld them saying they did not violate any of the girl's constitutional rights. So, while Roberts might in effect have held his nose at the law's excessiveness, he nonetheless allowed its enforcement. A good or bad judgment? As an ordinary citizen, I think his current opinion should be forthcoming. The Transit Authority has changed their policy since the incident. How about the Court nominee?

Posted by: Fred Dawson | Jul 20, 2005 11:50:38 AM

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