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June 3, 2007

Will SCOTUS address Claiborne's fate on Monday?

On Monday morning, the Supreme Court will release orders and probably a few new opinions.  Before last week, I thought there was a chance that we might decisions in the Claiborne and Rita reasonableness case as early as this Monday (although wiser folks than me had predicted the middle of June for these critical rulings on Booker's meaning and impact on federal sentencing).

However, the death of Mario Claiborne (details here) would seem to ensure that SCOTUS will need more time to sort out these matters.  Thus, I think the chief issues now are whether the Supreme Court's orders on Monday will include some formal action on the Claiborne case and will provide some indication on how the Justices plan to handle these matters going forward.  Any predictions, dear readers?

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June 3, 2007 at 08:40 AM | Permalink

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Monday's order -> "Dismissed." Nothing further for now. They'll either decide Rita alone later this month or carry the case over to next Term for reargument with a Claiborne-clone of their choosing. Stay tuned.

Posted by: | Jun 3, 2007 12:38:27 PM

I agree that there will likely be a dismissal order Monday on Claiborne. The FPD for EDMo, Claiborne's counsel, has proposed as a substitute case another of their office's own pending petitions (Terrence Beal), which like Claiborne involves a below-Guidelines sentence for crack that was held unreasonable by the 8th Circuit. But (as reported in detail on SCOTUSBlog) the SG hasn't filed the gov't response to that suggestion yet, so I don't anticipate an order immediately. If the SG acquiesces in a grant for Beal (or even if the SG nominates some other pending case), I do think there's a reasonable chance (that is, enough time left), considering how much work must already have been done on the forthcoming decision, of seeing a grant and a highly expedited briefing schedule. Maybe the parties would waive argument, or argument would be disallowed. On this scenario, there could still be a two-petitioner decision at the end of this Term.

Posted by: Peter G | Jun 3, 2007 1:03:35 PM

They'll dismiss it outright and probably never reach the issue in another case.

Posted by: brucem | Jun 3, 2007 1:39:34 PM

SG is privately proposing Beal be accepted and that the parties agree to expedited, simultaneous briefing, so the case can be decided this term. I guess SG thinks Beal is a better case for them than was Claiborne, and that they're destined to win it this term.

Posted by: | Jun 3, 2007 11:20:20 PM

SG is privately proposing Beal be accepted and that the parties agree to expedited, simultaneous briefing, so the case can be decided this term. I guess SG thinks Beal is a better case for them than was Claiborne, and that they're destined to win it this term.

If the Court does this, then Beal is surely going to turn out the way Claiborne would have turned out. If the facts in Beal are sufficiently distinguishable to produce a different outcome, then it won't be decided this Term.

Perhaps I'm too gullible, but I give the SG credit for suggesting this because it's good for the law, not necessarily because the SG thinks the government is going to win. Naturally, the SG thought it would win both Claiborne and Rita, but the SG also recognizes that a resolution, good or bad, is better than the chaos that prevails today in the post-Booker world.

Posted by: Marc Shepherd | Jun 4, 2007 6:12:02 AM

Posting this at 10:25 am Monday. The Court issued an Orders List this morning which does not include any order in the Claiborne case.

Posted by: Peter G | Jun 4, 2007 10:26:06 AM

SCOTUSblog reports that Claiborne v. US has been dismissed. It looks like it may have been done in a miscellaneous order rather than on the orders list.

Posted by: | Jun 4, 2007 10:46:12 AM

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