In this post in February, 2021, I asked “Any guesses for when we might again have a fully functioning US Sentencing Commission?”. If anyone guessed August 4, 2022, well done: the US Senate tonight voted to confirm all seven of Prez Biden’s nominees to the USSC. This Bloomberg Law piece, headlined “US Sentencing Commission Restocked After Senate Confirmations,” starts its report on this exciting news this way:
The Senate confirmed President Biden’s seven nominees to the US Sentencing Commission, fully restocking the panel and giving it the quorum needed to create guidance for the first time since 2019.
The bipartisan group of nominees were confirmed by voice vote, or without a formal tally, Thursday night. The new panel will be led by US District Judge Carlton Reeves, who is the first Black chair in the commission’s history.
As a reminder, this post lists all the folks who tonight are officially US Sentencing Commissioners, and congrats to them all.
As I have noted in prior posts, not only has the USSC gone nearly four years without a quorum needed to complete official actions, it has not had a complete set of seven commissioners in place for the better part of a decade. But now, thrillingly, the Commission is fully loaded (and I hope ready to roll like Herbie).
Historically, as can be seen at this USSC webpage, back when the US Sentencing Commission was functional, the Commission would usually announce its yearly proposed priorities in June and then finalize those priorities in August. It will be interesting to see if the new fully loaded Commission will seek to move forward with announced priorities and possible amendments in the coming months or will need considerable time to get up and running effectively. There are lots of matters, big and small, that need the attention of a functioning Commission, but doing it right is more critical than doing it fast.
A few prior related posts: