Supreme Court's Role in the Criminal Justice System
Professor William Stuntz has an interesting article in the New Republic on the Supreme Court's role in the criminal justice system. Sentencing Law and Policy has excerpted some of the most pertinent quotes.
[T]he Supreme Court's most important job is not managing the culture wars. Regulating the never-ending war on crime is a much bigger task. Alas, it may also be the job the Court does worst.
Civilizations define themselves by when, how, and whom they punish. Those choices are especially important in a society like ours, with a long history of both criminal violence and official racism. Forty-five percent of American prisoners are black. The imprisonment rate — the number of prison inmates per 100,000 people — stood at 482 in 2003. Among black males, the figure was 3,405. For black men in their late twenties, the number exceeds 9,000. Court decisions that help shape those numbers are vastly more important than the latest church-state fight. And the justices do shape those numbers, both by what they regulate and by what they leave alone....
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