Ed Whelan has the scoop here. The Supreme Court unanimously held “that a crack offender is eligible for a sentence reduction under the First Step Act only if convicted of a crack offense that triggered a mandatory minimum sentence.” Whelan says the unanimous opinion was a blow to the credibility of the Biden administration.
How, you might wonder, can the Supreme Court’s unanimous affirmance of a federal criminal sentence be a huge defeat for the Biden administration?
The answer is that the Biden administration, which inherited defense of this case from the Trump administration, informed the Court on March 15—the very date the United States’ brief on the merits was due—that it would not defend the judgment below and that it was confessing error in the case.
Both the confession of error and the timing of the confession were extraordinary. The Department of Justice routinely defends criminal convictions and sentences in cases on appeal that it is almost certain to lose, yet it refused to defend this case that informed observers recognized that it was very likely to win. The only plausible explanation is that the Biden administration confessed error in this case in order to pander to the Black Lives Matter crowd and other constituencies in the Democratic Party.
Prosecutors in DoJ played defense attorney for political reasons, to pander to black voters. But the law was decidedly not on their side, as a unanimous court held.
This is a disgusting abdication of the rule of law. When an administration subverts justice, it is supposed to be on behalf of the president’s personal friends, not Black Lives Matter.