Lawmakers Push Biden to Fill Sentencing Commission Vacancies 

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U.S. Representatives Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), and Jamie Raskin (D-MD), are urging President Joe Biden to prioritize filling vacancies that have left the U.S. Sentencing Commission without a quorum, saying the situation has stalled criminal justice reform, reports Reuters. The commission lost its quorum in January 2019, a month after former Republican President Donald Trump signed into law the First Step Act, bipartisan legislation aimed at easing harsh sentencing for non-violent offenders and at reducing recidivism. Armstrong and Raskin said the lack of quorum also meant the commission cannot update the advisory sentencing guidelines needed to help implement the law, resulting potentially in its uneven application by judges across the country and impeding the commission from advising judges on whether under the First Step Act inmates could secure compassionate release amid the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in inconsistent rulings.

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