January 15, 2006
Shouldn't Republican senators trust how Republican judges exercise sentencing discretion?
This graphic (which enlarges if you click on it), along with this New York Times article, highlights that Republican presidents have appointed more than 55% of sitting federal judges. The article is focused particularly on the idea that, with Judge Alito's likely confirmation, President Bush "appears on the verge of achieving what he had set as a primary goal of his presidency: a fundamental reshaping of the federal judiciary along more conservative lines."
Though the NYT article does not provide a complete breakdown of judges at all levels, it confirms my speculation that Republicans in Congress generally should be pleased by the make-up of the current federal judiciary that now wields new sentencing power in the wake of Booker. I first discussed the composition of the federal judicial in this post back in February. My main point then and now is that a distrust of judges often expressed by Republicans in Congress (such as Representatives James Sensenbrenner and Tom Feeney) seems especially curious given the make-up of the current federal judiciary: one would think that Republicans would generally trust the exercise of sentencing discretion by a judiciary comprised of judges appointed mostly by their own party.
January 15, 2006 at 12:26 AM | Permalink
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since when have politicians been constrained by the truth?
Posted by: Brian Kleinhaus | Jan 15, 2006 9:45:52 AM
I think Kitzmiller put an end to Republicans trusting Republican judges, if Roper didn't. Now it's more fashionable to despise judges as a class.
Posted by: Scott | Jan 15, 2006 12:09:49 PM
No way just look at the pasteing Judge Ed Cashman is taking up in Vermont. Here is a guy who is conservative a former prosecutor and a real war hero. He even jailed parents who refused to help prosecutors prosecute their kid. Yet based on inuendo and a general hatred of the bench the bozo's are calling for his resignation or impeachment. His crime? Wanting to keep a learning disabled sex offender from offending again. It is a sin the way they lie, and just continue to stir the pot against this guy even though they now know they were wrong. I should apologize to Bozo. He had much more class than O'Reilly and Co.
Posted by: That Lawyer Dude | Jan 16, 2006 12:00:49 AM
Discretion leads to greater disparities in sentencing, no matter what the political affiliation of our judges. Do you want greater disparities or not? The left is particularly two-faced about this dilemma, and that's why we got the Sentencing Guidelines in the first place. The right has been consistent: reduce judges' discretion and reduce sentencing disparities. They don't care what the percentage of "Republican" judges is. Until the members of the left decide whether they'd prefer greater disparities or greater judicial discretion, they really can't add much to the dialogue. (Aside from piquant comments about Bozo.)
Posted by: Mark | Jan 16, 2006 9:56:07 AM
Mark, when the right starts a campaign to impose and rigorously enforce firm prosecutorial guidelines, only then will accept your claim that the right has been "consistent" in their concern about sentencing disparity.
But, in fact, there has been precious little concern expressed from the right about the disparate exercise of prosecutorial discretion, even though there is very strong evidence that such discretion is a much bigger problem than judicial discretion (in part because prosecutorial discretion is not transparent nor subject to serious review).
If you think one side is more "consistent" in the disparity debate, check your facts. In my view, the only obvious consistency is that the right seems more comfortable with longer sentences across the board, while the left seems to be troubled by this approach.
Posted by: Doug B. | Jan 16, 2006 11:40:23 AM