Thursday, August 26, 2004

The Independent USSC - Yeah! It's over in the Judicial Branch

It appears that the US Sentencing Commission has decided to file an amicus brief arguing that Blakely does not afffect the guidelines, but will not discuss the severability issue. That'll be a very helpful brief to the Court!

But I had to laugh when I read the following portion of Tony Mauro's article at here:
At first, according to one source, the solicitor general's office, part of the Justice Department, balked at the commission's desire to file its own brief. "The Court likes to hear the government speak with one voice," said the source.

But the Justice Department relented in light of the fact that the Sentencing Commission is viewed as a judicial branch, rather than an executive branch, agency and does not need permission to file separately. Commissioners also pointed out that the commission filed its own brief in Mistretta v. United States, the first constitutional challenge to sentencing guidelines, decided in 1989. But the commission's request to the solicitor general's office for part its 30-minute argument time was denied.
That's goes to show how much the Justice Department really considers the USSC a judicial branch agency! We have come a long way since Mistretta, and it has -for the most part- been in the wrong direction.