United States v. Booker: System Failure or System Fix?

Six years ago, the Supreme Court held in United States v. Booker that the mandatory sentencing guidelines system was unconstitutional. Since this decision, Congress has given a great deal of attention to federal sentencing and the changes that have resulted from Booker and its progeny. Recently, the Committee on the Judiciary's Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, of which I am the ranking member, held a hearing to examine what has happened during the six years after Booker. Despite what critics of the decision and those wary of judicial discretion claim, the Booker decision did not create a problem that needs fixing. Booker was the fix—not the problem.

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