Friday, August 08, 2003

Thinking on the Justice Department plan to keep score on judges and sentencing

If the Attorney General is keeping score on federal judges, with the idea of creating a judicial blacklist, as speculated here in the NY Times (registration required) and here in the Washington Post, just how is that supposed to work? If a judge makes too many downward departures, will the Justice Department pursue a higher or lower number of criminal cases before him or her? If the answer is lower, is that like punishing your friends and rewarding your enemies? What else is there - bad job ratings for trial court judges seeking promotion to the court of appeals? Few of the trial court judges over say 55 are going to be considered for promotion to the courts of appeals.

On the other hand, I guess the Justice Department is as entitled to try to forum-shop like anyone else when they have a choice between "friendly" and "unfriendly" jurisdictions - so maybe this data collection effort is not really news.

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