« Chicago Tribute claims innocent man executed | Main | A criminal law heavy SCOTUS finale »

June 25, 2006

Another must-read for SCOTUS watchers and Blakely fans

As I have said before, I always enjoy NYU Professor Rachel Barkow's scholarly work because, in addition to being a sentencing guru, she brings an important legal process perspective to the issues she explores.  She is at it again in latest piece, now available here from SSRN, entitled "Originalists, Politics, and Criminal Law on the Rehnquist Court."  Here are snippets from the abstract:

One of the most important legacies of the Rehnquist Court's criminal law jurisprudence is its reinvigoration of the Constitution's jury guarantee. The Court has made clear that legislators cannot pass laws mandating increases in punishment unless those laws are applied by juries, not judges. The Court has therefore rejected existing sentencing laws in numerous states and the federal system, and sentencing policy is under scrutiny as never before.

The Court's sentencing cases are not only significant for their impact on day-to-day plea bargaining and trial practice in the criminal justice system; they also provide a concrete and important example of the power of law and legal methodology - and not simply politics - in Supreme Court decisionmaking.  The sentencing decisions are out of step with what attitudinalist political scientists would have predicted from the right-leaning Court.... This area of criminal law is therefore an important reminder of the significance of legal methodology to case outcomes.

In addition to documenting the importance of the jury cases, this Article uses those cases as a springboard for a larger analysis of the relationship between originalists, politics, and criminal law on the Rehnquist Court.  By reviewing all of the Rehnquist Court's criminal opinions in argued cases during the ten-year period from the October 1994 Term through the 2003 Term, this Article shows that the Justices' votes in criminal cases do not fit neatly into the attitudinal model.... The jury cases are therefore part of a larger pattern that reveals the relationship between originalism, politics, and criminal law to be far more complicated than is commonly believed.

June 25, 2006 at 07:47 AM | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451574769e200d8342b8cd353ef

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Another must-read for SCOTUS watchers and Blakely fans:

» Blog Round-Up from SCOTUSblog
Akin Gump's Katie Spencer has this round-up of recent SCOTUS-related postings from around the web: Here and here, Sentencing Law and Policy offers a few quick thoughts on the decisions handed down in Marsh and Recuenco. Sentencing Law and Policy... [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 26, 2006 4:30:30 PM

Comments

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB