February 27, 2017
Senate Judiciary Committee this week to consider two (holdover) nominees to US Sentencing Commission
Sentencing fans in general and federal sentencing fans in particular should be interested in and intrigued by the first agenda item listed for this Wednesday's Executive Business Meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee: Nominations — Charles R. Breyer, to be a Member of the United States Sentencing Commission (Reappointment); Danny C. Reeves, to be a Member of the United States Sentencing Commission.
After the nominations of Judges Breyer and Reeves were stalled last Congress, outgoing Prez Obama thereafter renominated them for the US Sentencing Commission in January after the new Congress got to work. I have been somewhat pessimistic about the prospects of these holdover nominees getting a hearing and a vote, but perhaps my pessimism was misguided. Of particular important, if Judges Breyer and Reeves receive confirmation from the Senate in short order, they would join Acting USSC Chair Judge Bill Pryor and Commissioner Rachel Barkow to form a quorum on the USSC. (The Commission needs seven voting members to be fully staffed, but four members are sufficient to get stuff done if they all vote together on amendments and other action items.)
Notably, as previously flagged here and now highlighted here at the USSC website, the Commission promulgated some notable and consequential proposed amendments in late 2016 when it still had a nearly full compliment of Commissioners, and those proposed amendments have generated a whole lots of public comment. If the USSC gets two more Commissioners in the coming days, and if the two new folks and the two existing folks agree to move forward with some form of the amendments promulgated late last year, it is possible that the first big tangible federal sentencing development of the "Trump era" involves significant federal sentencing guideline amendments. (But, of course, this is a whole lot of "ifs" and thus nobody should count on anything in this space these days.)
February 27, 2017 at 10:54 AM | Permalink