Justice Kennedy testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee today, and the video of his appearance is here. Over at Legalities, Jan Crawford Greenburg offers very interesting commentary about the event.

  Thanks to How Appealing for the links.
Porkchop (mail):
I found his comments on sentencing, particularly mandatory minimums, to be extremely interesting. I've found the implications of our national propensity for imprisonment troubling for a long time. There's something very troubling about having nearly 2 million incarcerated individuals in this country, roughly 1 out of every 150 Americans. The economics of imprisonment alone argue for reexamining our policies. Is this really the best way to deal with crime and criminals?
2.15.2007 1:06pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):

Is this really the best way to deal with crime and criminals?

Absolutely. Further, arguments about costs are irrelevant:

1. The cost of not imprisoning and sufferring the resulting increase in crime and other societal negatives more than offsets the cost of imprisonment; and

2. Even if its still a net cost to society in terms of dollars it must be done in order to provide JUSTICE for victims of crime and for society. A just society spends the money to provide basic criminal justice for the victims of crime and society as a whole.

Imprisonment is to PUNISH. If rehabilitation happens, as unlikely as that is, that is just a happy circumstance but NOT the goal of imprisonment. Imprisonment is to PUNISH, because punishment is what provides justice to the victims, and the only effective deterrence to crime.

Minimum sentences were and still are needed because the people determined through their elected representatives that it was better for a rare instance of over sentencing to occur than to have numerous instances of activist judges over-ruling the legislatures and congress through inordinately and incomprehensibly uneven application of far too lenient of a punishment being given to criminal defendants. Too many judges looking for a way to argue "is this really the best way to deal with crime and criminals when that determination is the exclusive province of the legislature and congress.

Says the "Dog"
2.15.2007 6:35pm
Michael B (mail):
That Greenburg's impressive. Well grounded, probative, genuinely informative and absent pretensions. Refreshing.
2.15.2007 6:53pm