Hell Froze

The Supreme Court yesterday called into question the permissibility of the federal sentencing guidelines. Justice Scalia wrote the majority opinion in a case that dealt with a similar system in the state of Washington. Linda Greenhouse covers it

The most interesting part is this paragraph:

[T]he majority on Thursday was composed of Justices John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter, Clarence Thomas and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in addition to Justice Scalia. The dissenters, in addition to Justice O’Connor, were Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and Stephen G. Breyer, the latter an author of the federal system when he worked for the Senate Judiciary Committee as its chief counsel in the late 1970’s. As a federal appeals court judge, he then served on the United States Sentencing Commission.

It should be remembered that in 1989, I think, Justice Scalia authored a lone dissent saying the federal sentencing guidelines were an unconstitutional restraint on the power of judges and juries to set sentences.