A Plea For Congressional Restraint

by TChris

Many fear that Congress will react to the Supreme Court's Booker decision by enacting new sentencing legislation that will further restrict a judge's ability to tailor a sentence to the unique circumstances of each case. Fortunately, commentators are asking Congress to take a deep breath before enacting draconian measures that might include even harsher mandatory minimum sentences. Joining that chorus of voices is federal district Judge Myron Thompson, who urges Congress to resist the temptation to legislate a "harsh and unforgiving legal system."

[W]e should keep in mind one basic principle: neither consistency nor codification guarantees justice. While few if any are calling for a return to the practically unfettered discretion that judges had before the sentencing guidelines came into effect, the nuances of individual cases necessitate a certain fluidity in imposing punishment. Congress should seek to shape judicial discretion, not to lock it in a vise.

As Judge Thompson wisely reminds us, "punishment cannot be reduced to an algorithm."

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  • Re: A Plea For Congressional Restraint (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Fri Jan 21, 2005 at 02:15:43 PM EST
    Wow, Five hours and not a single comment. Well I'll add my voice to a call for Congressional restraint. I urge Congress to restrain itself from anymore wasteful spending on drug programs for the elderly rich and the entire War on Drugs idiocy. I urge Congress to restrain itself from anymore spending on bridges, buildings, or parks with Robert Byrd''s name on them. I urge Congress to... Oh, you get the idea. In fact, I urge Congress to restrain the federal government to those powers specifically granted to it in the U.S. Constitution, and I urge every member of Congress to take a little time to have the complete text of the Tenth Amendment tattooed onto their foreheads, backwards, so they can read it every time they are primping in a mirror for their next soundbite appearance.

    Re: A Plea For Congressional Restraint (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Fri Jan 21, 2005 at 03:37:38 PM EST
    Asking for "Congressional restraint" is like asking for whores' celibacy.