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:: A constitutional law blog by Scalia/Thomas fan David M. Wagner, M.A., J.D., Research Fellow, National Legal Foundation, and Teacher, Veritas Preparatory Academy. Opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not reflect those of the NLF or Veritas. :: bloghome | E-mail me ::

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    :: Tuesday, October 12, 2004 ::
    Portland judge assails sentencing guidelines
    PORTLAND (AP) - Although the U.S. Supreme Court has not yet ruled on theissue, a federal judge in Oregon issued an opinion this week attacking federal sentencing guidelines as an unconstitutional encroachment on judicial authority and discretion. U.S. District Judge Owen Panner's ruling Wednesday included a blistering attack on Congress and, in particular, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft's efforts to strip judges of their authority and discretion. Panner, whose opinion quickly rippled through legal circles across the country, determined that attempts by the congressional and executive branches to control how defendants are sentenced in federal courts overstepped the authority of Congress and the president.
    He's right, of course -- except he doesn't take his point far enough: just as legislatures and executives shouldn't sentence, judges shouldn't be involved in determining "sentencing guidelines." Mistretta must be overruled.

    :: David M. Wagner 1:17 PM [+] ::

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