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September 13, 2005

Sentencing dogs not (yet?) barking at Roberts' confirmation hearings

Thanks to Tom Goldstein's effective live blogging here, I see that my prediction that sentencing issues would not take center stage during the Roberts' confirmation hearings is proving accurate.  As of 5:45pm, the Senate Judiciary Committee has questioned Judge Roberts on a wide array of topics for nearly a full day, and basic criminal justice issues are getting very little attention. 

I am not surprised about the little attention given to criminal justice issues in the Senators' questions, though I do think it is a notable (and telling) omission given that a significant portion of the Supreme Court's docket involves criminal justice issues.  As noted here at TalkLeft, Senator Feingold had the floor late this afternoon, and he asked some death penalty questions during Judge Roberts 2003 confirmation hearings.  However, it appears Senator Feingold has decided to leave that issue for another day, too.

Since we are not getting satisfaction from the Senators, perhaps we should just all play along at home. So, dear readers, I ask you to use the comments to suggest what criminal justice question(s) you would like to ask Judge Roberts.

UPDATE: Ask good questions dear readers, because we now know that the Senators (or at least their staff) draw insights from the blogosphere.  As noted here by Orin Kerr, Senator Cornyn referenced this Volokh Conspiracy post by Jim Lindgren toward the end of today's hearing.

FURTHER UPDATE: Also, at the very end of the day's questioning, Senator Durbin discussed, quite briefly, the death penalty, innocence issue and the Herrera case in which Judge Roberts had played a role.  Roberts said in this interchange that "any case involving the death penalty is different.... The irrevocability calls for the most careful scrutiny."  He also said, "DNA evidence obviously I think is a very important and critical issue. No one wants an innocent person executed, period.  And the availability of that type of evidence, that opportunity in some cases I think is something that's a very significant development in the law.  Now, as I said, there are cases coming up in there, so I don't want to say anything further on that."

Later version cross-posted at PrawfsBlawg.

September 13, 2005 at 05:50 PM | Permalink


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