Kagan Stresses Deference to Congress on Federal Sentencing


In her three-day Supreme Court confirmation hearing, nominee Elena Kagan expressed very few views on substantive issues that might give observers a clue as to how she would vote as a Justice. Criminal law and sentencing issues were no exception, as the nominee did not tip her hand much on these matters.

One interesting tidbit emerged, however. Kagan was asked on June 30, 2010, the third day of the hearings, by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) about her views on the disparity between the sentences imposed for trafficking in crack and powder cocaine, a disparity that tends to produce racially skewed punishments, with black defendants drawing longer sentences.

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