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July 6, 2009

Hoping criminal justice issues get attention in upcoming SCOTUS confirmation hearing

The National Law Journal has this new piece, headlined "A dozen themes frame Sotomayor hearing," that should help whet appetites for the upcoming Senate confirmation hearing for Judge Sotomayor's elevation to the Supreme Court.  Disappointingly, though not surprisingly, the piece does not mention either Sotomayor's past as a state prosecutor or the current importance (and flux) of huge areas of criminal law jurisprudence as a theme to watch.

It is notable (and probably worthy of some extended analysis) that members of Congress seem so eager to make much of crime and punishment issues in some settings, but then often seem eager to completely ignore these issue in modern confirmation battles.  Of course, the obviously explanation is political: bringing up issues during confirmation hearing concerning, say, Blakely and Crawford Sixth Amendment jurisprudence or Booker and the future of federal sentencing does not score any obvious political points with any obvious constituencies. 

I can and will continue to hope that at least a few Senators might look past short-term political concerns and consider asking questions that might prompt Sotomayor to engage publicly with criminal justice issues that are likely to be of critical importance for many SCOTUS terms to come.  As detailed in some prior posts below, these issues extend beyond the obvious topics of the death penalty and mandatory minimums to "brave new world" topics like GPS tracking and other technocorrections.

Some recent and older posts about Judge Sotomayor and SCOTUS sentencing topics:

July 6, 2009 at 01:00 PM | Permalink


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A Look Back at Supreme Court's Criminal Law Cases: At Concurring Opinions, guest-blogger Jenia Turner tells us her thoughts on the Supreme Court's criminal procedure decisions. She writes that she is particularly interested in exploring the Court's sug... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 6, 2009 6:01:21 PM


What I find highly interesting is the fact that no one mentions the fact that justices, at times, engage in politics in their decision. For instance the Ricci case.

Posted by: Grateful | Jul 6, 2009 8:43:47 PM

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