In its first full opinion of the 2010-11 term, the Supreme Court today upheld longer prison sentences for carrying or using a gun while trafficking drugs. trafficking. The 8-0 opinion by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg affirmed lower court rulings against defendants who had five years added to drug trafficking sentences because they had carried guns.
The cases decided today came from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans. Some federal courts had said the additional five years could not be added onto related sentences for federal crimes. New Justice Elena Kagan did not take part in the case because she had represented the U.S. government at the court before becoming a justice.