Watch Out for Mandatory Minimums
The Wall St. Journal Friday (free link) has an editorial on federal sentencing, warning of the return of mandatory minimums:
Judges have never liked the guidelines, which from their perspective amount to 1,800 pages of Congressional micromanagement. But somehow we think they're going to like what's coming even less. Congress is not about to sit still and accept what it sees as a power grab by the judiciary.
Hearings on the guidelines are already being discussed, and legislation could follow apace. One quick fix would be for Congress to expand the number of mandatory minimum sentences, a solution that would have the ironic effect of giving judges less flexibility in sentencing than they had before Wednesday's ruling.
We warned of this back in September:
If the Supreme Court's Blakely decision renders the Guidelines unconstitutional, what comes next might be worse. Congress may enact mandatory minimum penalties for many more offenses.
. Ronald H. Weich, a former counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee who opposes mandatory minimums, said [mandatory minimums] had a political constituency. "There is a real danger," Mr. Weich said, "that we're heading back to mandatory minimums if guidelines are unconstitutional." The Justice Department supports mandatory minimums, said Monica Goodling, a spokeswoman.
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