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January 31, 2006

What does Justice Alito think about Blakely and Booker?

As this post at SCOTUSblog details, Judge Sam Alito is now officially Justice Sam Alito.  The timing is notable, not only because this morning the Third Circuit released this 4th Amendment opinion authored by then-Judge Alito, but also because "Alito will attend his first scheduled Conference ... on Friday, Feb. 17."   The Feb. 17 Conference is already on my calender because the Gomez case from Tennessee (background in this post) and a number of the Blakely cases coming from California are to be conferenced that day (more details in this post).  Consequently, Justice Alito will be immediately contributing his input on whether, when and how the Supreme Court will examine state sentencing systems that have so far elided Blakely.

Were I to now predict Justice Alito's views on Blakely and Booker, I fear that, as I explained here, criminal defendants should expect him to prove to be more in the mold of Rehnquist than in the mold of Scalia.  But then again, one never knows how persuasive Antonin can be.  After all, Justice Scalia has so far convinced Chief Justice Roberts to see the world his way in every single decision by the Court this year.  And, given the current SCOTUS sentencing head-count on Apprendi-Blakely-Booker issues, if either Justices Alito or Roberts were to embrace Justice Scalia's perspectives on jury trial rights, Blakely's reach and impact might ultimately be even broader than anyone has predicted.

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January 31, 2006 at 03:02 PM | Permalink

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