Supreme Court watcher Tom Goldstein offers some predictions on major cases this coming term in Scotusblog. In the Kimbrough vs. U.S. on whether federal judges can refuse to follow the crack sentencing guideline (which imposes a 100:1 ratio to cocaine sentences by weight), Goldstein said the “government is overwhelmingly likely to lose. His conclusion: “I expect that the ‘headline’ ruling in the case will be that sentences will come down for crack cocaine.”
In the D.C. handgun-ban case, assuming that the high court agrees to consider it, Goldstein first says that the outcome “cannot be predicted because these nine justices have not decided a similar question.” Goldstein then notes that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit’s decision overturning the Washington, D.C., handgun ban “is avowedly an outlier among a fairly significant body of lower court authority. So the more likely (if still quite uncertain) outcome is that [the law] will prevail.” Goldstein notes that the ruling “could have a profound effect” on whether gun-rights voters who support National Rifle Association views will go to the polls.