The United States Supreme Court ruled against the Biden administration in a unanimous decision that the Department of Justice was not allowed to refuse to enforce the law or defend it in court, according to The Washington Examiner.
SCOTUS’s ruling, which the Examiner called a “well-deserved and humiliating defeat to the Biden administration” caused all nine justices to side against the administration saying that the administration should be required to uphold the law of the land.
The Supreme Court’s decision centered around a case brought by Tarahrick Terry who was a career criminal and federal prisoner that pleaded guilty in 2008 to dealing crack cocaine.
Terry plead out in exchange for having gun charges dropped, a deal that President Barack Obama’s Justice Department signed off on in a move that was not unusual given the circumstances.
However, the Justice Department under the Obama administration was expected to come down harder on a gun charge, considering his very public stance against leniency on guns.
Terry, however, hoped to lean on a Trump administration DOJ initiative involved in criminal justice reform called the First Step Act, which allowed current federal inmates to have their sentences revisited in some cases.
Any case that was sentenced under the old pre-2010 mandatory minimum sentences, which were much stiffer for offenses involving crack than for offenses involving powder cocaine, were eligible to have their cases revisited. However, the details of the convicted drug offenders case weren’t quite the slam dunk he hoped.
According to the Examiner, however, The federal courts did not feel the same and the court’s 9-0 decision this week prevented Biden’s much more lenient Justice Department to defy the rule of law in Terry’s case.
Because Terry was considered a “career offender,” or a three-time loser with a history of drug and/or violent convictions, and he got just over half the 15 years he was owed in prison, the justices did not feel his case merited use of the First Step Act, and the DOJ was forced to implement the law.